Mar. 24 - Gay and women's rights activists denounce Pope Benedict's visit to Mexico. Michaela Cabrera reports.
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As the Pope kicked off his three-day visit in Mexico, protesters in the capital gathered to denounce the Catholic Church.
Gay rights and women's rights activists joined the demonstration at Mexico City's Independence Monument.
They said they were not convinced of the pope's message of peace.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MEMBER OF "GUERRILLA GAY" GROUP JAVIER LIZARRAGA SAYING:
"For 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has been persecuting, killing, imposing fines and criminalising us. They've made whistle-blowers of us. We have had it with nuns, priests, and all churches when they act against human rights, against Jesus' word."
Much to the ire of the church in the world's second most populous Catholic nation, Mexico city is a liberal bastion where gay marriage is recognised and abortion is available on demand.
One women's rights advocate brought up the child abuse scandals concerning the Vatican, and said the Catholic Church should not be casting the first stone.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST, YARA, SAYING:
"They accuse women who have abortions and they tolerate priests who rape and commit acts of pedophilia. In reality they are very hypocritical, I am completely against someone else deciding what I do with my body. We are here to demand our right to choose."
Pope Benedict will not be going to Mexico City, starting his visit instead in the religious stronghold of Leon in Guanajuato.
His trip is aimed at rallying the faithful, and upon arriving, he pledged to unmask the evil of drug trafficking, in a country ravaged by gang violence.
Michaela Cabrera, Reuters.
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