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Papa Don't Preach
The visit of Pope Benedict XVI - 'El Papa' - became the focus of marches through the capital last night. Some marching in support of the pontiff, some kneeling to pray en route and shouting out the name of the Holy Father, others marching in protest that they had been subjected to hefty taxes in order to pay for a visit that they neither supported nor wanted at a time when the country can ill-afford to pay for it.
Although the Government have repeatedly stated that the 4 day event, which has been rumoured to cost anywhere between 6 and 100 Million Euros, has been financed through ticket sales and private sponsorship. However, the corporate sponsors have been offered tax breaks of as much as 80% due to the event being 'of exceptional public interest', which means that millions of Euros worth of Taxes that would previously have been paid into the system will now not be. As such, indirectly, the Spanish tax payer will be paying for the privilege of hosting the event.
On the whole, last night's protests passed peacefully, with only 6 arrests being made as the march passed through the Puerta del Sol square, home of Spain's 'los Indignados' protest group, who have taken exception to the event due to the financial toll it will take on the country.