Protester Hits Pope Francis In The Face With Object During Chile Visit [VIDEO]

Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

An unidentified Chilean protester hit Pope Francis in the face with a thrown object Tuesday as the pontiff greeted crowds gathered to attend mass.

The protester hit Francis with what appeared to be a hat while Francis greeted throngs of Catholic faithful who gathered at O’Higgins Park to attend the first Mass conducted by the Pope on Chilean soil, according to Express. Francis was unharmed and apparently unfazed, though his arrival in Chile and the days preceding his arrival have been marked by violent clashes between protesters and police and a series of church firebombings.

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Pro-abortion activists, socialist groups, and groups angered by government corruption and the child sexual abuse scandal in Chile’s Catholic churches turned out in droves to protest during Francis’ tour and addresses in Chile. The unidentified culprits of the church firebombings left messages at their intended bombing sights both threatening to bomb the Francis and ridiculing him protesting his travel expenses. (RELATED: Pope Asks Forgiveness For ‘Pain And Shame’ Of Child Sex Abuse)

“The only church that illuminates is the one that burns, it is the one that is on fire. Ha-Ha, NO to the Pope,” read one message scrawled on the wall of a church which vandals set ablaze.

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Not all protesters came out to oppose the Pope. Claudio Melgarejo, a spokesman for some of the protesters, said that many just want to make Francis aware that all is not as well as the Chilean government would like him to believe. Melgarejo told Express that they want Francis to see “the real image of Chile.”

“We are not against the visit of the Pope,” Melgarejo said. “We are against the image that the executive wants to give him that everything is fine here, which is not the case.”

Police dispersed crowds of protesters with tear gas and water cannons Tuesday, and have arrested at least 30 protesters for acts of violence.

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