Madrid - Spanish police on Thursday foiled plans by 100 gays and lesbians to stage a kiss-in on the route the visiting Pope Benedict XVI took through Madrid, blocking the protesters before they could meet up.
The activists had planned to join up on the major artery Calle Serrano along which the pope later travelled in his white, bullet-proof popemobile for a welcoming ceremony in Plaza Cibeles square.
But a few hundred metres from their planned meeting point and an hour before the pope passed by, a cordon of police block the demonstrators' way and forced them to disperse.
About 50 of the protesters kissed each other in front of the police, who outnumbered them, in the central Plaza Colon square less than a kilometre from the papal ceremony.
Nearby, a group of young Roman Catholics chanting “Here are the youth of the pope” were kept apart from the protesters by police.
The protest had been organised on Facebook by a group defending homosexual and transsexual rights said their spokesperson, Jaime del Val.
When the pope last visited Spain in November last year, he was confronted by a kiss-in in the northeastern city of Barcelona in protest at the Church's opposition to homosexuality.
About 200 gay men and women couples locked lips to demand the Church recognise their right to be gay as he paraded through Barcelona's streets November 7 in the popemobile. - Sapa-AFP