Demonstrators gathered in London on Sunday, 14 February 2010 under the banner “No Pope, No Vatican – London for a Secular Europe”. There was an additional reason to demonstrate in London this year. It has just been announced that the Pope is to visit Britain later in the year in a state visit, funded by the Government, rather than as a pastoral visit funded by the Church.
Involved in the demonstration was the British Humanist Association, the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, One Law for All (against Sharia), Protest The Pope (a coalition co-ordinating opposing to the Pope when he visits), European Humanist Federation, National Secular Society, OutRage! (gay rights activists) and Central London Humanist Group.
IHEU was also represented, by Keith Porteous Wood, who told the demonstrators of IHEU’s direct attack on the Vatican at the United Nations in Geneva in September over child abuse, accusing the Vatican of breaking several Articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This drew a round of applause. Keith told the receptive crowd that the Vatican had not even denied the charges, and had responded with a catalogue of disingenuous and misleading excuses.
Speakers drew attention to the Vatican’s interference in the democratic process, especially in EU institutions. The Church’s appalling attitude to and treatment of women and gays came in for particular criticism as did its shameful record on child abuse.
The demonstration started at the Roman Catholic cathedral and ended at the Italian embassy. Similar demonstrations were held in other European cities.
For more photos go to: http://www.meetup.com/Central-London-Humanists/photos/827234/13122611/