January 17, 2018
POPE Francis was hit by an object thrown from a person in the crowds gathered in Chile on the first day of his South America tour, which has been marred by violent protests and angry street clashes.



During the first day of his South American tour, Pope Francis drove through Santiago de Chile in his popemobile to O'Higgins Park.
After visiting President Michelle Bachelet at Palacio de la Moneda, the supreme pontiff went to the popular park to hold the first Mass on Chilean soil.
As he greeted the thousands of people who had turned out to see him, the Pope was hit by an object which had been thrown at his face.
The object appeared to be a cream hat.
The Pope's visit to Chile has been marred by violence, after 30 people were arrested following angry clashes on the streets, riot police called in and arson attacks on churches.
His sixth tour to South America has provoked a backlash from pro-abortion activists and protesters angered by the huge cost involved in hosting the visit.
Scores of people were arrested in the southern city of Concepción after demonstrating against the government, claiming they "would not show the real image of Chile" to Pope Francis.
A spokesman for the protesters, Claudio Melgarejo, claimed at least 200 people had to be dispersed during the first day of the pontiff’s visit.
Pope ATTACKED: Shocking moment object hits Francis in face in Chile backlash
He said: "We are not against the visit of the Pope.
“We are against the image that the executive wants to give him that everything is fine here, which is not the case.”
Meanwhile, the number of Catholic churches that have been attacked in Chile in the past week rose to eight, both in the capital and in southern regions.
In three of the attacks churches suffered damage, particularly at the gates and facades.
After a fire at the church of San Agustín de Melipilla investigators found graffiti daubed on the walls which read: "The only church that illuminates is the one that burns, it is the one that is on fire. Ha-Ha, NO to the Pope.”
Catholics have been upset with the Pope's appointment in 2015 of Bishop Juan Barros to head the small diocese of Osorno in south-central Chile.
Bishop Barros, who attended Tuesday's Mass, has been accused of a cover-up of sexual abuse - an allegation he denies.
But the scandal has gripped Chile, and, along with growing secularisation, it has hurt the standing of a Church that defended human rights during the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
Pope ATTACKED: Shocking moment object hits Francis in face in Chile backlash

Pope ATTACKED: Shocking moment object hits Francis in face in Chile backlash
During his speech, the pope said was "fair to ask for forgiveness" and that he felt "pain and shame" before the "irreparable damage" caused to the victims of sexual abuse by the Chilean clergy.
He added: "And here I can not stop expressing the pain and shame I feel at the irreparable damage caused to children by ministers of the Church."
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