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British bishop travelled to Genoa to protest


A British bishop flew out to Italy on Friday to march "side-by-side with the world's poor" at the G8 summit of rich nations in Genoa.

Despite the threats of violence, Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue of Lancaster vowed to "take to the streets" to protest over Third World debt. He said he felt "compelled" to express his solidarity with poorer nations and described the debt burden as "one of the gravest problems faced by mankind."

But the Catholic aid agency CAFOD advised its supporters to abandon their plans to take part in the debt march as violence escalated at the summit. CAFOD said it could no longer guarantee the safety of its more than 500 supporters. They had wanted to protest peacefully about third world debt.

Instead it urged its supporters to go to a vigil in the church of San Antonio Boccadasse, where its director Julian Filochowski and Bishop O'Donoghue were speaking.

CAFOD supporters took part in a human chain outside the church after the vigil. CAFOD's Head of Campaigns Fleur Anderson said, "This is a double tragedy. We condemn all violence and loss of life. It is very sad for our campaigners who've made their way from London that they will no longer be taking part in the debt protest. It is our democratic right to have a voice. We represent the millions of people who have no voice. That is no longer possible under these circumstances. The violence has destroyed our campaigners chance to have their issues heard."


CWN/CAFOD


23-Jul-01