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Delegates face harassment in Madrid

Protesters hurl insults at people attending World Youth Day event

Philippine delegates pose with police officers in Madrid (photo: Youth Pinoy) Philippine delegates pose with police officers in Madrid (photo: Youth Pinoy)
  • Julian Labores and Lourdes Abelardo, Manila
  • Philippines
  • August 19, 2011
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Filipino delegates to the World Youth Day (WYD) in Spain experienced a "jarring" cultural shock after being harassed byhostile protesters, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) reported today.

The report said the harassment ranged from chants to obscenities, with some incidents leading to a verbal confrontation.

“I just cannot understand that they brought the Christian faith to the Philippines, but there are now so many anti-Catholic Spanish people. What happened?,” delegate Jan Dell Posion said.

Posion and Fr. Ransom Rapirap were asking directions in a neighborhood in Alcorcón, Spain, when a Spanish man shouted profanities at the delegates.

“Suddenly he wanted to cross the street, but he was already shouting…. The tone of his voice and the expression of his body [looked as if] he wanted to crush us," Fr. Rapirap said.

J.C. Perez, a Jesuit novice from Manila, also had a confrontation with anti-Catholic and anti-Pope protesters.

Perez said he was chanting with other delegates in Madrid when a group of protesters shouted at them.

Two Filipino delegates from Dubai – Chris Asero, 28, and Rome Jarlego, 27 - said they were walking along Sol, Madrid, on Wednesday when they saw protesters harassing Italian, German and French delegates.

“Some were already cursing. Their placards were really derogatory,” Asero said.

Jarlego said the protesters were against government spending for WYD. They want that money to be given to poor countries like Somalia or even Spain itself, which is in the middle of an economic slowdown like the rest of Europe.

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