Italian paramilitary police blocked a boulevard leading to the Vatican to prevent a march in Rome on Sunday by survivors of clergy sex abuse from reaching St. Peter's Square.
When Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi came to speak with organizers Sunday evening, a protester shouted "Shame, shame" in Italian, and Lombardi left, escorted by police.
He later told The AP by telephone that if organizers want to see him he would "gladly" receive them inside his office. Shortly after that, one of the organizers, Gary Bergeron, did meet briefly with Lombardi and the two agreed to meet Sunday night after the end of the protest.
The event, which aims to show survivors worldwide they are not alone — is being organized by Bergeron and another Boston man, Bernie McDaid, who were abused by the same priest starting in the sixth grade. Bergeron said he told Lombardi that the abuse survivors have been "waiting a lifetime to be able to stand up and speak out."
Protesters held signs with slogans including "Hands off children."