When "Viva il Papa" isn't quite so welcome

After the Westminster Cathedral Mass yesterday, I took a stroll up Whitehall, passing a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph. At Trafalgar Square, there was a large police presence and the sound of a distant megaphone, indicating that the Protest the Pope demo was on its way.

I managed to get across to Trafalgar Square itself and was quite close to the march as it passed along. One of the sidekicks of Peter Tatchell's Outrage section was not too pleased to see a Catholic priest at the kerb.

Many of the placards bore a striking resemblance to the SWP trademark 2x1 stick with standard lettering and footer. (I wonder if they are by any chance related.) Here is one of the more thoughtful ones, though perhaps a little puzzling for the average passer-by:

Naturally, the smelly socks brigade included a few clowns with blown-up condoms:

And the intellectual level of debate was what we might expect:

I'm not sure that the marxists among the crowd would necessarily approve of this reference which rather misses the point of Karl's famous saying:

After seeing the Holy Father drive up Constitution Hill in the popemobile, I made my way on to Hyde Park Corner where the Muslims were in full voice. The copper in the front of this picture was a little concerned at my leading a group of papal flag-waving pilgrims in shouting Viva il Papa! thought our right to free speech was properly respected.

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