Pope arrives in Madrid on the occasion of World Youth Day

MADRID – On Thursday afternoon Pope Benedict XVI arrived to a four-day visit to Madrid, where the waiting hundreds of thousands of young Catholics on the occasion of World Youth Day (WYD). The cost of organizing the visit has been criticized in Spain.

The movement of Benedict XVI, the third in Spain since the beginning of his pontificate in 2005, comes at a tense.

Wednesday night, event held at the call of secular movements, thousands of people to protest against the participation of Spanish taxpayers to finance the JMJ and Papal trip in Madrid, the cost is estimated at 50 million euros.

The event, which began peacefully, ended with clashes between demonstrators and police. Police said there were 11 injured including two policemen and eight arrests.

WYD organizers argue that the Pope’s visit will cost taxpayers nothing, noting that the money comes from private donations, and loyal business partners. The Pro-secular stress on their side the costs associated with the deployment of heavy security, the opening of hosting infrastructure, tax deductions granted to corporate partners of World Youth Day, or tariff reductions in transport for visitors.

Except for a trip Friday to a historic monastery in El Escorial, 50km northwest of Madrid, the Pope will spend the whole visit in Madrid.

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