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20 riot police sent to remove 10 young people praying rosary at abortion clinic in Spain

A 40 Days for Life volunteer tries to pray for the end of abortion in Madrid in front of the police present on Dec. 28, 2023. / Credit: Nicolás de Cárdenas/ACI Prensa

ACI Prensa Staff, Dec 28, 2023 / 18:30 pm (CNA).

The Government Delegation (public administration) in Madrid mobilized approximately 20 riot police officers to prevent about 10 young people from praying the rosary in front of the Dator abortion clinic.

On Dec. 28, the feast of the Holy Innocents, the officers also arrested Dr. Jesús Poveda, who was staging a one-man sit-in at the doors of the Dator clinic.The doctor has spent close to 40 years helping mothers at risk of abortion. 

Poveda was thus faithful to what already constitutes a tradition of the pro-life movement in Spain by carrying out an act of passive resistance on only one day of the year, the feast of the Holy Innocents, while dedicating the remaining 364 to saving babies.

Dr. Jesús Poveda, on the ground, begins his peaceful protest in front of the Dator abortion center on the 2023 feast of the Holy Innocents, Dec. 28, 2023. Credit: Nicolás de Cárdenas/ACI Prensa

In the early hours of Thursday morning, unidentified people affixed posters to the Dator clinic with explicit images of aborted babies with messages such as “He is a holy innocent” and “Are you going to look the other way?”

At 9 a.m. sharp, Poveda went to the doors of the abortion center and sat down on the ground in protest near the clinic doors. Shortly after, a group of young people from the Praying Is Not a Crime movement arrived at the scene with the intention of meditating on the luminous mysteries of the rosary.

Several police officers automatically made them move a hundred meters (about 330 feet) away from the place, where on their knees and displaying a large wooden cross and an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, they began to pray the rosary.

Next to them was a woman carrying a sign with the usual message of the 40 Days for Life initiative: “You are not alone, we can help you.”

Photo caption and credit: 40 Days for Life volunteer tries to pray for the end of abortion in Madrid in front of the police present. Credit: Nicolás de Cárdenas / ACI Prensa

Some of the young people explained to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, that the officers just told them that there was another event scheduled and notice given to the Government Delegation, and that was why they had to move away from the place. Pro-lifers claimed that, according to the law, they did not constitute a demonstration since there were fewer than 20 people in their group.

While this was going on, a group of fewer than 10 feminists came onto the scene with the plan to demonstrate at the site, as they have done regularly for a few years.

Around the place they displayed posters with slogans such as “keep your rosaries off our ovaries,” “feminist struggle = trans struggle,” and “I too aborted. So what!” while they used a loudspeaker to play music that could be heard all down the street.

At about 9:30 in the morning, the officers told Poveda to leave the place near the doors of the abortion clinic, which he refused to do, offering passive resistance. The police then transferred him to a patrol car in which he was taken to the police station.

Throughout the hour that the pro-life volunteers were at the scene, the police didn’t allow them to freely move about and they were followed by several officers. At least one man was told by a police officer to empty his pockets, although he finally allowed him to continue without further consequences.

Another time, when two of the pro-life volunteers came to store material at the pro-life shelter located near the abortion business, several of the feminists made a beeline toward them carrying a banner. The police prevented them from approaching, warning the abortion advocates that they were seeking “confrontation” with the young pro-life women.

This was not the only rosary planned for this day. At 6:30 p.m. several organizations were to gather at the site with the same intention. Also expected to attend was José Andrés Calderón, the young organizer of the public rosaries for the unity of Spain, which has been going on for almost 50 days.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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