Page last updated at 15:42 GMT, Saturday, 31 October 2009

11 October 1988: Pope heckled by Paisley

European Parliament, Strasbourg

1988 saw the first Papal visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, but it didn't go quite as planned.

Moments after Pope John Paul II started speaking, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party MEP, the Rev Ian Paisley, started heckling.

Although he had given prior warning that he would try to disrupt the Pope's speech, it took fellow MEPs by surprise.

As Dr Paisley brandished posters accusing the Pope of being the antichrist, he was shouted down by other MEPs, who snatched the posters from him and threw papers at him in disgust.

He was eventually ordered to leave the chamber by the then President, the UK's Lord Plumb.

The Pope meanwhile looked on with faint amusement, before continuing with his speech that described Europe as a "beacon of civilisation".

Story Tools

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific