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Thousands rush for Vatican collector's coins


Scuffles broke out outside the Vatican's gates yesterday as thousands of people, many of them having queued for more than 24 hours, waited to buy a limited edition of Vatican coins.

Italian and Vatican police linked arms to hold back a 150 metre long line of people chanting "Let us in." Many of them were poor immigrants or unemployed people hoping to resell the coins to collectors at a large profit.

Some tried to push to the front and several had to be taken away by ambulances during the night and in the morning.

"I'm in pain. I've been waiting for nearly 20 hours," said Leonard from the Ivory Coast. He said he would keep the coins as long as he could, then sell them when he needed the money.

The Vatican had a second edition of coins commemorating the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul's election minted after the first edition sold out in March 2002.

Sets of eight coins of different denominations were being sold for $A26.65, but scalpers said they could be resold for hundreds. Many of the sets were reserved ahead of time.

SOURCE
Reuters



11 Apr 2003