Riot police break up anti-pope demo near Santiago mass

Police moved in on the demonstrators as they headed towards the city's O'Higgins Park, where Francis was presiding over a huge open-air mass for some 400,000 pilgrims on the first day of his visit to the South American country.

Police used armored vehicles to fire water cannon at the demonstrators and arrested around 50 people, bundling them into vans.

Many of the demonstrators chanted "pedophile accomplices" as they approached the park.

A man dressed as the pope and two other people dressed as nuns unfurled a banner from the balcony of a nearby building that read: "Francis, accomplice of pedophile crimes."

Other demonstrators walked under a banner saying, "The poor of Chile are marching"

Francis' visit -- his first to Chile as pope -- has been overshadowed by a report outlining the depth of sexual abuse in the local Church, and his appointment of a bishop who many here believe covered-up the country's most prominent sex abuse scandal.

The US-based NGO Bishop Accountability said ahead of the visit that almost 80 Roman Catholic clergy members had been accused of sexually abusing children in Chile since 2000.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng

Recommended articles

2023: Denying Igbo presidency will renew calls for secession- Southern group

2023: Denying Igbo presidency will renew calls for secession- Southern group

APC, PDP have failed Nigerians, reject them in 2023 - Kwankwaso

APC, PDP have failed Nigerians, reject them in 2023 - Kwankwaso

NDLEA arrests Brazilian returnee with cocaine in private parts

NDLEA arrests Brazilian returnee with cocaine in private parts

If you can't find the schools Tinubu attended, find the ones he built - Shehu Sani

If you can't find the schools Tinubu attended, find the ones he built - Shehu Sani

You have poor knowledge of governance, Okowa tells APC

You have poor knowledge of governance, Okowa tells APC

2023: Atiku-Okowa ticket, pathway for new Nigeria —  Gov Okowa

2023: Atiku-Okowa ticket, pathway for new Nigeria —  Gov Okowa

LP crisis may hurt Peter Obi's chances if not resolved- Factional Chairman

LP crisis may hurt Peter Obi's chances if not resolved- Factional Chairman

NAFDAC alerts on toxicity, ban of European cosmetics product Placentyne hair lotion

NAFDAC alerts on toxicity, ban of European cosmetics product Placentyne hair lotion

NDLEA seizes N6bn worth of drugs in Apapa – Commander

NDLEA seizes N6bn worth of drugs in Apapa – Commander