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Tiny anti-Pope rally draws huge police response

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BRITAIN/

By Maria Golovnina

Peaking through the iron gates of the Vatican’s residence in London, four people rallied quietly on a rainy afternoon holding photographs of children they said were abused by Catholics priests around the world.

With a week to go before Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain, the low-key rally drew little press and the activists were about to leave when six police cars swooped on the scene flashing warning lights.

Passers-by looked on in bewilderment as officers got out of the cars and poured into the leafy street in Wimbledon, south London. Local residents craned their necks from windows and balconies to see what was going on.

One policeman used surgical gloves to collect soggy placards into a plastic bag. One police officer said they had received reports of “disturbances” outside the Nunciature, or papal diplomatic mission, where the Pope is expected to stay during his visit to London next week

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