Aussie Court Strikes Down Law Banning Pope Protests

Law against 'annoying' Catholics attending papal events ruled unconstitutional
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2008 3:25 AM CDT
Gerry Texeira wears a shirt claiming the Pope is homophobic during a protest in Sydney to mock a law banning people from annoying those gathered for the Pope's visit later this month.    (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
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(Newser) – An Australian court has struck down a law aimed at curbing protests during Pope Benedict XVI's visit Down Under, reports Reuters. The law, ruled unconstitutional, had banned protesters from "annoying" those attending papal events. People handing out condoms or wearing anti-Pope t-shirts faced possible $5,000 fines.

"We now have a lot more confidence to take to the streets to condemn Pope Benedict's policies against condom use, against contraception, against homosexuality," said a spokeswoman for a protest group. "We are glad the court has ruled that we do have the freedom of expression to communicate our political view."