RIO DE JANEIRO — LGBT Brazilians on Monday greeted Pope Francis with a “beijaco,” or kiss-in, upon the pontiff’s arrival in Rio de Janeiro as a protest of the Catholic Church’s stance on same-sex marriage.
An estimated 200 participants kissed along the papal motorcade, and again on the steps of the Catholic Church of Our Lady Victorious in the city’s central square of Largo do Machado.
Earlier in the day, Rio police had blocked access to the state governor’s palace as hundreds of Anonymous “hacktivists” and “gay militants” rallied to denounce Rio state Governor Sergio Cabral’s policies, and the $53 million spent on the Pope’s landmark visit to what remains the world’s most populous Catholic nation.
“Go away Cabral, go away Dilma,” the demonstrators chanted while a huge banner read: “Down with the fascist state and its anti-people governments.”
The protestors had attempted to march toward the Guanabara Palace, where Sergio Cabral, Governor of Rio De Janeiro State, and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff received Pope Francis.
The 76-year-old Argentinean Pontiff rode in an open-top jeep through the center of Rio de Janeiro, kicking off his week-long visit to a country whose Catholic numbers are slipping, and in which a slow economic progress has recently added to by social unrest.
The gay-kissing protest was organized the LGBT rights advocates via Facebook and did not affiliate with any official advocacy group.
“There is no interest in meeting up with the Pope, we have nothing to demand from the church,” said one organizers, in a video posted on YouTube. “We do not want or need any religion to legitimate our sexualities. We just want them to be respected.”