Riot police officers clash with demonstrators in Madrid Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011. (Arturo Rodriguez/AP)

In Madrid, protesters filled the central square, the site of months of demonstrations over the country’s high unemployment. Along the Pope’s route, gays and lesbians staged a mass kiss-in. As riot police officers tried to disperse both groups, violent clashes ensued, included several officers hitting a girl in the face, before beating a passing press photographer. (Watch the video.)

Sitting on a giant white throne near city hall in a white cassock and skullcap, the Pope addressed the faithful and appealed to them to resist the temptation to follow “fashionable ideas,” like the protests.


Pope Benedict XVI greets youths in Plaza de Cibeles, in Madrid, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011. (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

One demonstrator told Sky News she was taking part in the protests because “there are better things to spend money on.” One in five Spaniards are unable to find work and almost half of those under 25 are unemployed.

Eight people were arrested and 11 injured in the protests. Watch as riot police beat a girl and a press photographer in Madrid (it begins at 1:15):

See more photos below:


Riot police officer clash with demostrators on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011. (Arturo Rodriguez/AP)

A demonstrator confronts a riot police officer during clashes in Madrid Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011. (Emilio Morenatti/AP)