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Our intention is to inform people of racist, homophobic, religious extreme hate speech perpetrators across social networking internet sites. And we also aim to be a focal point for people to access information and resources to report such perpetrators to appropriate web sites, governmental departments and law enforcement agencies around the world.

We will also post relevant news worthy items and information on Human rights issues, racism, extremist individuals and groups and far right political parties from around the world although predominantly Britain.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Secret tape reveals Tory backing for ban on gays (UK)

The Tories were embroiled in a furious row over lesbian and gay rights on Saturday after the shadow home secretary, Chris Grayling, was secretly taped suggesting that people who ran bed and breakfasts in their homes should "have the right" to turn away homosexual couples.

The comments, made by Grayling last week to a leading centre-right thinktank, drew an angry response from gay groups and other parties, which said they were evidence that senior figures in David Cameron's party still tolerate prejudice.
In a recording of the meeting of the Centre for Policy Studies, obtained by the Observer, Grayling makes clear he has always believed that those who run B&Bs should be free to turn away guests.

"I think we need to allow people to have their own consciences," he said. "I personally always took the view that, if you look at the case of should a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude a gay couple from a hotel, I took the view that if it's a question of somebody who's doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn't come into their own home."
He draws a distinction, however, with hotels, which he says should admit gay couples. "If they are running a hotel on the high street, I really don't think that it is right in this day and age that a gay couple should walk into a hotel and be turned away because they are a gay couple, and I think that is where the dividing line comes."

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the gay rights group Stonewall, said the comments would be "very alarming to a lot of gay people who may have been thinking of voting Conservative".
He added: "The legal position is perfectly clear. If you are going to offer the public a commercial service – and B&Bs are a commercial service – then people cannot be refused that service on the grounds of sexuality. No one is obliged to run a B&B, but people who do so have to obey the law. "I don't think anyone, including the Tories, wants to go back to the days where there is a sign outside saying: 'No gays, no blacks, no Irish.'"

Labour said that Grayling's comments ran contrary to the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, which state that no one should be refused goods or services on the grounds of their sexuality.
Grayling voted in favour of the regulations, which apply to the provision of "accommodation in a hotel, boarding house or similar establishment".
Last month, a Christian B&B owner in Cookham, Berkshire, was reported to the police for refusing to take in a gay couple as guests. Susanne Wilkinson said she had expected a man and woman, but when two men turned up she did not feel she could accommodate them because to do so was "against her convictions". The couple said they were considering suing, not for money, but "for a principle".
Chris Bryant, the Europe minister, who last weekend became the first gay MP to be married in the Commons, said from his honeymoon in Edinburgh: "Anybody who thinks that the Tory party has changed should think what it would be like to have Chris Grayling as home secretary. It is impossible to draw a distinction between bed and breakfasts and hotels. It is very clear that very senior Tories have not realised that the world has moved on."

A Conservative spokesperson said last night that Grayling had been clear about the obligations on hotel owners, but declined to be drawn on his views on B&Bs: "Chris Grayling was absolutely clear that in this day and age a gay couple should not be turned away from a hotel just because they are gay couple."

The row will alarm David Cameron as he prepares for a general election that looks certain to be called on Tuesday. The Tory leader has gone out of his way to win over gay and lesbian voters by stressing his new-look party's liberal credentials. Last year, he apologised for section 28, the law passed by Margaret Thatcher's Tory government in the late 1980s that bans the promotion of homosexuality in schools. Cameron has also voted in favour of civil partnerships.

However, his progress in attracting the gay vote has been halted by a series of disputes involving his own MPs and MEPs. Tory MEPs last year refused to support a motion that condemned a new homophobic law in Lithuania.

Cameron was also left embarrassed during a recent interview with Gay Times, broadcast by Channel 4 News, in which he admitted he did not know his party's position on a series of votes involving gay rights issues in the UK and European parliaments.
Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "Chris Grayling's plan would allow discrimination to thrive, as every bigot was given a licence to opt out of equality rules. These views… show how far the Conservative party still has to travel before reaching the modern age."

The culture secretary Ben Bradshaw, who is openly gay, said: "What is critical at this election is whether David Cameron is for real and whether his party has actually changed. Yet again the mask has slipped."

The Guardian

The threat of Baltic ultra-nationalism

The EU is wrong to ignore the resurgence of neofascism in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – it threatens European democracy.
No one can accuse the British press of ignoring the recent march in Riga of approximately 1,000 Latvian Waffen-SS veterans and their supporters. There were detailed news reports on all the aspects of the march, as well as regarding the counter-demonstration mounted by some 150 mostly ethnic Russian anti-fascists, in the Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail, and the Times, all of which had journalists on the ground to report firsthand from the scene. This is ostensibly hardly surprising, given the fact that Latvia is a member of both the European Union and Nato. One would assume that an attempt to honour troops who fought alongside the Nazis would attract media attention, certainly in the capitals of those countries that made such great sacrifices to save the world from Hitler and Nazism.

Yet with the exception of Russia, the extensive coverage of the march in the British media was unique, not only in the European Union but also in the rest of the world, most surprisingly in the United States and Canada, where the event was virtually ignored. But even in the UK, the solid coverage of the march did not stem from a highly justified concern regarding the resurgence of neofascism in an EU member country, but for internal political reasons related to the upcoming general election. In fact, I believe that it is fair to say that if not for the fact that the Conservative party had created an alliance in the European parliament with several rightwing east European parties, among them Latvian Fatherland and Freedom party, which staunchly supports the march, the British media would no doubt would have ignored the march in Riga as well.

The best proof of this is their silence regarding a similar march conducted less than a week before in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. The march in Lithuania, which also attracted about 1,000 participants, was organised to mark an anniversary of Lithuanian independence, but the message conveyed by both events was chillingly similar. If in Riga demonstrators carried signs with slogans such as "Jews, this Land is for Latvians", in Vilnius the main chant was "Lithuania for Lithuanians". Bearing flags with various neofascist symbols, the marchers in the Lithuanian capital sent a message of hostility to all minorities. In fact, on the same occasion two years earlier, the message was more explicit and included the famous Nazi slogan of "Juden raus" [Jews out] and specific advice to members of the Russian minority to seek residence elsewhere. In both cases, the number of participants is on the rise.
And while neither march was officially organised by the local government, the refusal of local political leaders o condemn them should concern the rest of the EU and Nato. The Lithuanian prime minister Andrius Kubilius said that the event was irrelevant and that his country was "truly a sufficiently tolerant state", like "Norway and Denmark". Quite a flippant remark, considering that it was Kazimieras Uoka, an MP from his own Conservative party, who took out the license for the demonstration. The Latvian foreign minister Maris Reikstins responded to critics of the Latvian Legion march by asserting that the event, which took place in the centre of the city and at its most sacred site (the Freedom Monument), was "private" and by condemning those who believe that any distinction should be made between the innocent victims of the Nazis and their local collaborators and those who died fighting for a victory of the Third Reich.

In this context, it was particularly shocking to read the remarks made by the new US ambassador to Lithuania, Anne E Derse, who in a speech last week at Vilnius University made no mention of the march but asserted that "The United States and Lithuania are partners in the fight against antisemitism and in efforts to address the legacy of the Holocaust." If Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, had been making serious progress in educating its people about the horrible crimes committed by local Nazi collaborators during the Holocaust and had made an honest effort to bring unprosecuted local killers to justice, then perhaps we could ignore the marches. But not a single Lithuanian, Latvian, or Estonian Nazi war criminal has been punished by a Baltic court since independence. Instead, Jewish anti-Nazi Soviet partisans in Lithuania have been singled out for legal harassment, and these countries are leading the campaign to equate communism with Nazism.

Regardless of whether the Tories add the Lithuanian Conservative party to their alliance in the European parliament, I think the time has come in the UK to stop treating the resurgence of neofascism in the Baltics as an election issue, and elsewhere in the EU to start treating it as a threat to the integrity of European democracy.
The Guardian

Violent clashes at anti-mosque demonstration (UK)

Violent clashes have broken out between riot police and right-wing protesters at a demonstration against a mosque.

About 2,000 members of the English Defence League (EDL) descended on Dudley to demonstrate at plans for a new Muslim place of worship in the West Midlands town.
Some of the protesters broke out of a pen in a car park, breaking down metal fences and throwing the metal brackets at officers, who were armed with riot shields and batons.

Members of the demonstration started fighting their own stewards, who were trying to calm them down as they attacked the fences penning them in.
The EDL had put signs up which read "Labour forcing mosques on Britain" and "No one wants this mosque". Some demonstrators held placards reading "Muslim bombers off our streets" and "Say no to the mosque".

Dudley Council said in a statement on its website: "We didn't invite the EDL to our town and we don't want them here." But the council said it did not have the power to ban the event.
ITN News

Exit of three top BNP officers confirmed (UK)

Following our report earlier today of the resignation of Emma Colgate from her post as BNP manager, the BNP has amended its national contacts spreadsheet. Absent are Colgate, Eddy Butler, the former national organiser and national elections officer, and Mark Collett, the former head of publicity.

The changes confirm the stories circulating on nazi web forums that the unpopular Collett has finally fallen out of favour. A BNP organisers’ bulletin circulated on 31 March referred to “financial irregularities and ‘scamming’ concerning the procurement of print, especially large election print run, leaflets and regular publications including Identity magazine”. It appears that Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, has finally accepted that there is substance to the long-standing accusations that Collett has been making a huge personal profit on the design and print procurement he carries out for the party.
Collett is also accused of leaking “sensitive party information” onto the internet and “feeding lies to certain anti-BNP blog sites”.
The organisers’ bulletin continues: “Earlier this week, the police were made aware of very serious allegations potentially affecting the personal safety of Party chairman Nick Griffin MEP and senior management/fundraising consultant James Dowson. Formal statements have now been made to the police, including by Mr. Griffin.”
Although the bulletin says it the party is “unable to provide any further details in order not to prejudice any resulting legal proceedings”, it goes on to announce that: “Mark Collett was conspiring with a small clique of other party officials to launch a ‘palace coup’ against our twice democratically elected party leader, Nick Griffin, and that in order to create the artificial climate of disillusionment necessary for this to stand any chance of success, lies and unfounded rumours have been spread, and were planned to be spread much further. Mr. Collett has therefore been relieved of all positions within the Party with immediate effect.”

As a result Collett’s Wikipedia entry was updated with incredible haste to state that he “was Director of Publicity for the Party before being suspended from the party in early April 2010”.
A second organisers’ bulletin calls on “regional organisers and key officials” to attend an “urgent briefing meeting” on Easter Monday, which “will cover recent events, urgent organisational matters, including a crucial update from our new National Elections Officer Clive Jefferson”. Jefferson, who only a few months ago was promoted to North West regional organiser, quietly replaces Butler in the national elections officer role. He is also one of the BNP officers fraudulently on the European Parliament payroll.

All this comes at the worst possible time for the BNP, five weeks before elections in which it hopes to win control of Barking and Dagenham council and get Griffin and Simon Darby, the party's deputy leader, elected to the House of Commons.
Collett stood trial alongside Griffin in 2006 on race hate charges and was acquitted. Although Griffin always stood by him, he knew Collett was a fool. “I constantly have to lecture Mark Collett about all sorts of things,” said Nick Griffin. “He is a pig ignorant man. Often it goes in one ear and straight out of the other.”

A few years ago Collett starred in a Channel 4 documentary called Young, Nazi and Proud, in which he said he would prefer to live in 1930s Nazi Germany than in today’s Britain. He also attacked Winston Churchill and the British Royal Family.

Hope Not Hate

In Germany, confronting the Nazi perpetrators

It isn't easy facing the cold stare of a Nazi perpetrator, even in a photo. Increasingly, however, memorial sites in Germany are making the confrontation possible, opening a door that long has been sealed.

A new exhibit at the former Ravensbrueck women's concentration camp in the ex-East German state of Brandenburg is the latest example.
"The Fuehrerhaus: Everyday Life and Crimes of Ravensbrueck SS Officers," opened March 20, allowing a glimpse into the life of camp commandant Max Koegel and his SS underlings through informational panels arranged in his former villa, steps away from the barracks that once housed thousands of prisoners.
On April 18, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to visit the memorial for the first time to mark the camp's liberation 65 years ago by Russian Red Army soldiers.

During a recent preview, members of the restoration crew and their spouses entered the peak-roofed house of Koegel, passed through the former dining area with its large fireplace, climbed the polished wooden staircase to the second floor and stepped out onto the balcony from which Koegel himself could survey the camp below.

The spheres of SS and prisoner "were two completely separate worlds," exhibit curator Alyn Bessmann said. "We hope this [dichotomy] will be more tangible to the visitors now."
The contrast "should make people think," said restaurateur Dietmar Gallinat, 46, standing on the balcony.

Koegel, notorious for his eagerness to punish prisoners for the slightest transgression, "was probably no different from the town baker" who ignored the brutality around him. "And there are still people who think this way today."
"The whole thing has a kind of nightmarish atmosphere," said painter Karsten Neumann, 46. "It is astonishing that people were capable of spreading such misery … and it is important to name these people."
"When I think that they lived normal lives in these rooms, I feel sick," said Neumann's wife, Ulrike. "I felt I had to wash my hands after leaving the house because I did not want to touch what they had touched."

Ravensbrueck reportedly is the third permanent exhibit on Nazi perpetrators mounted at a concentration camp memorial in Germany.
The first, about female camp guards, opened at Ravensbrueck in 2004. The second, also about guards, opened at the Neuengamme camp memorial near Hamburg in 2005.
At both sites, scholars thought it was time to confront perpetrators as a way to help Germans gain insight into a horrid chapter of their own history and prevent future crimes.

The resulting exhibits highlight the victim's perspective.

"The first thing you hear in the exhibit [about female guards] is former inmates speaking about these guards," said Insa Eschebach, director of the Ravensbrueck memorial.
Major hurdles had to be overcome to launch the exhibit.
Skeptics, including survivors and their advocates, said such sites should be solely dedicated to the memory of victims. Some feared that exhibits about perpetrators might attract neo-Nazis or feed an unhealthy fascination with horror.
Eschebach counters that it was high time to confront the perpetrator after years of suppression.

In the former West Germany, memorials had been dominated by "a kind of religious intention," she said, so chapels were built at such sites as Dachau, near Munich. And in the former East Germany, remembrance took on an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist tone.
"If there was any mention of perpetrators, it was to say they were all sitting in West Germany," Eschebach said.
After German unification in 1990, memorials started "providing historical documentation," Eschebach said. "And with that came the question: Who were the perpetrators?"
New information centers opened in the early 1990s, including the "Topography of Terror" archive at the site of the former Gestapo headquarters in Berlin and the House of the Wannsee Conference, a villa outside Berlin where high-ranking Nazis met in January 1942 to map out the genocide of European Jewry.
A trove of archival material was suddenly available, and retired schoolteacher Werner Schubert was among those who took advantage.

At Wannsee, Schubert, now 85, learned that Rudolf Lange, one of the Nazis at the infamous conference, came from his own hometown, Weisswasser, in former East Germany.
Schubert's work exposing the biography of Lange and naming other local Nazi criminals led a town leader to accuse him of "nailing perpetrators to the wall."
"I answered that the perpetrators themselves are long dead, but they have children and grandchildren, and … they should deal with the past," Schubert told JTA.

Increasingly, descendants of Nazi perpetrators have sought information themselves. At Neuengamme, a discussion group was started for them, said historian Oliver von Wrochem.
"The need to confront our own history is relatively large today, much more than 10 years ago," von Wrochem told JTA. "That is partly because most of the perpetrators are no longer alive, so one can deal with this more intensively and more easily."
But it is also because this history "is a part of their biography and they have started to think about it again."

The daughter of a camp commandant and a granddaughter of a camp doctor once told Bessmann that "they very much wished to love their relatives and that they could not. And I think that this is something quite central in the country from which the perpetrators come," she said.

But in a sense, all Germans might feel "related" to the criminals.
"In that moment when I stand before the perpetrator, I have a personal relation to him," said Schubert, a former Wehrmacht soldier, though never a Nazi Party member, he said. The perpetrator "becomes like a neighbor. And when a personal relation is there, it is always hard."

Empathy is a natural risk. Many debates have been heard in recent years in Germany as to whether films portraying Hitler, Goebbels or other high-ranking Nazis are too humanizing.

Bessmann isn't concerned, having learned years ago from Israel's Holocaust memorial at Yad Vashem "to show the perpetrator as a person whom we must confront."

"And as a normal person, you just have to distance yourself from them," said Schubert.
At a reception following the recent preview tour of the new exhibit, one of several roofers having a few beers together said he resented the fact that "we as grandchildren are still paying" for the crimes of the past. Another said he wanted his own grandchildren one day to learn about the past, "but it should not be exaggerated."

Such views are not uncommon in Germany. But the resources are there for those who actively seek to know more.
"The confrontation with the perpetrator is so fundamental and important in this country," Bessmann said, and "increasingly, people are ready."

Today, however, the closest they may come to a confrontation is with a photo on the wall.

York University removes anti-Semitic student (Canada)

York University in Toronto says a man who allegedly advocated genocide against Jews is no longer a student there.

Salman Hossain had been accused of running a Web site that refers to Jews as "diseased and filthy," "the scum of the earth," "fanatic, genocidal maniacs," "psychotic" and "mass murderers."

The Arizona-based Web site Filthy Jewish Terrorists also said "a genocide should be perpetrated against the Jewish populations of North America and Europe."
York suspended Hossain last month and ordered him to appear before a disciplinary panel.

"The person is no longer a student here," Alex Bilyk, the university's director of media relations, told the National Post newspaper on Thursday. Asked if that was a result of action by the university, he replied: "Yes," adding, "That's all I can tell you."
Hossain is still the subject of a hate crimes investigation, according to the Ontario Provincial Police, because it is illegal in Canada to support or promote genocide, as well as communicate statements other than in private conversation that willfully promote hatred against an identifiable group.

Ontario's attorney general declined to press criminal charges last year against Hossain, saying the Bangladeshi-Canadian was undergoing rehabilitation with an imam.

York made "the only logical decision that could be reached in this case," Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, told the Post.

Crimes involving Facebook up 346 percent (UK)

Crimes involving social networking site Facebook have increased by 346 percent in less than a year, a police report said.

Incidents of abuse or other crimes involving the site reported to Nottinghamshire police rose to 58 between April 2009 and February 2010 from 13 the previous year.
This led to six people being charged with offences, compared with three in the previous year.

Harassment was the crime most frequently reported to involve Facebook in the past year, accounting for 36 of the 58 incidents, Detective Sergeant Harry Parsonage was quoted as saying by telegraph.co.uk.

'For crime that involves communication, Facebook is just a method of communication. Essentially Facebook is no different from any other part of the internet,' said Parsonage, who manages the force's e-crime unit.
Parsonage said: 'We don't know what part Facebook played in each offence. All we know is at some point within each crime there is some mention of Facebook.'

A spokeswoman for the site said it was no surprise that it was being mentioned in reports of crimes, given its huge growth in users in the past 20 months.
'With active monthly users rising from 100 million globally in August 2008 to more than 400 million globally in February 2010, Facebook's name is featuring more frequently in the conversations we are all having every day and being used as a tool for raising awareness of issues such as knife crime through to political activism in Iran.
'The correlation between the growth of the service and its mention in crimes is probably the same for any number of digital platforms that have entered our everyday lives in recent years, from the mobile phone to email,' she said, adding that the site has 'robust reporting system to flag any criminal acitivity.'

Yahoo News

Serbia issues warrant for 'Nazi murderer' Peter Egner

A Serbian court has issued an international arrest warrant for a US man accused of involvement in mass murder during World War II.

Peter Egner, 88, is suspected of war crimes against Jews and other citizens during the Nazi occupation of Serbia, court officials said.
Mr Egner is an ethnic German who was born in the former Yugoslavia.

He has denied the accusations and has been opposing US attempts to strip him of his citizenship.
Mr Egner became an American citizen after moving to the US in the 1960s.
During the war, he is accused of serving in an Einsatzgruppe, a Serbian police unit run by the Nazis - though he has said he knows nothing about the unit, the Associated Press news agency reports.

According to the US justice department, the unit killed thousands of Jewish and Serbian women and children in early 1942 by gassing them with carbon monoxide in a specially designed van.
US and Serbian authorities have been co-operating on the case.

Germany and its allies invaded Yugoslavia in 1941, carving the territory up between the different Axis powers.

Serbia fell under Nazi control, with a collaborationist administration installed in Belgrade until it was toppled by Josip Tito's partisans and the Soviet army in 1944.



A migrant worker in Europe has to make up to five times more applications than a local resident before getting a job offer, an International Labour Organization expert said Wednesday.

A migrant worker in Europe has to make up to five times more applications than a local resident before getting a job offer, an International Labour Organization expert said Wednesday. "A person with an immigrant origin or appearance has to apply four or five as many times to get one positive response in any stage of the application process," said Patrick Taran, a migration expert at the ILO, quoting findings from a survey across 10 European countries. Underlining that there is a "surprisingly high and generalised level of discrimination" against migrant workers in the countries examined, the expert said that the phenomenon also posed a "serious threat for social cohesion." He called on countries to put in place independent anti-discrimination watchdogs which could give advice to or help defend victims against such abuses. Such institutions, coupled with firm legislation could help to improve the lot of migrant workers, he added. "There is a fundamental policy interest" for greater protection of migrant workers, Taran argued. Discrimination can push migrant workers towards the informal economy, where they would not contribute to the state through taxes or other social contributions, he pointed out. The ILO report is based on real experiences of resident and migrant job seekers in France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Denmark.


Outrage at anti-Semitism comparison by Pope preacher

Jewish groups and victims of sex abuse by Catholic priests have condemned the Pope's preacher for comparing criticism of the pontiff to anti-Semitism.

US-based abuse victims' group Snap said the remarks were "morally wrong".
The head of Germany's Central Council of Jews described the Easter sermon as unprecedented "insolence".
The Catholic Church has been rocked by a wave of sex abuse scandals this year. The Vatican said Raniero Cantalamessa's did not represent its official view.
Drawing such parallels could "lead to misunderstandings", spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi told the Associated Press.

'Repulsive and offensive'
However, Fr Cantalamessa's sermon was printed in full on the front page of the Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano
At a Good Friday service in St Peter's Basilica in Rome, the Preacher of the Pontifical Household compared criticism of the Church over abuse allegations to "the collective violence suffered by the Jews".

Fr Cantalamessa said he had been inspired by a letter from a Jewish friend who had been upset by the "attacks" against the Pope.
He then read part of the letter, in which his friend said he was following "with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the Church, the Pope and all the faithful of the whole world".
"The use of stereotypes and the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism," he quoted the letter as saying, as the Pope listened.

The comments swiftly provoked angry reactions both from Jewish groups and those representing abuse victims.
The secretary general of Germany's Central Council of Jews, Stephan Kramer, told the Associated Press news agency the remarks were "repulsive, obscene and most of all offensive towards all abuse victims as well as to all the victims of the Holocaust".
David Goldberg, of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London, told the BBC the comparison between criticism of the Pope and anti-Semitism was an inept analogy, but he did not think it was ill-intentioned.

"It rather struck me how out of touch so many people in the Vatican are in terms of either understanding the Jewish psyche or in actually dealing with the outrage that so many people, Catholic or otherwise, throughout the world feel," he said.
A spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap) said the sermon had been "reckless and irresponsible".
"They're sitting in the papal palace, they're experiencing a little discomfort, and they're going to compare themselves to being rounded up or lined up and sent in cattle cars to Auschwitz?" said Peter Isely. "You cannot be serious."

'Failure to act'
Later, Pope Benedict attended a traditional candlelit Good Friday prayer service at the Colosseum in Rome - the Way of the Cross procession, which commemorates Christ's crucifixion.
In a short homily, he made no reference to the abuse scandals that have rocked the Church in recent weeks, but prayed for divine help for Catholics who carry their own crosses every day of their lives.

Then he blessed the crowd, prompting applause and some shouts of "Long live the Pope".

On Saturday, he is to lead an Easter vigil service in St Peter's and on Sunday he is due to deliver his traditional Urbi et Orbi - "for the city and the world" - message and blessing.
The pontiff has been accused personally of failing to take action against a suspected abuser during his tenure as archbishop of Munich - a claim the Vatican strongly denies.
Critics also say that when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases, he did not act against a US priest who is thought to have abused some 200 deaf boys.

On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had also allowed a case against a priest in Arizona to languish at the Vatican for years, despite repeated pleas from a local bishop for the man to be removed from the priesthood.
Documents showed that in 1990, members of a Church tribunal found that Rev Michael Teta had molested children as far back as the late 1970s, it said.
The panel referred the case to Cardinal Ratzinger. But it took 12 years from the time the future Pope assumed control of the case in a signed letter until Rev Teta was removed from the ministry, it was alleged.

The Catholic Church has been engulfed this year by sex abuse scandals, many dating back decades, in Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, the Pope's native Germany and the US.

BBC News