Secured Church

Mexico cathedral closed by protesting mob reopens

.- The Mexican capital's cathedral reopened on Saturday under police guard almost a week after it shut its doors when leftist protesters disrupted a Mass, Reuters reports.

It was the first time the 400-year-old cathedral had closed since the start of the "Cristero" war in the 1920s, in which Catholics fought federal authorities over an anti-clerical campaign by the government after the Mexican Revolution.

Last Sunday the tolling of the church bells angered some of those attending a rally outside the church.  A mob burst into the cathedral, tearing down railings and overturning pews.

Tensions have risen between Church leaders and the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) since the party narrowly lost last year's presidential election to the conservative National Action Party, which is seen as close to the Church.

The Church has also opposed the PRD over recent Mexico City laws to legalize abortion and to instate homosexual civil unions.  Mexico's top churchman, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, said last month he had received death threats from members of the party.

More than 30 policemen will guard the cathedral and 30 video cameras will be installed to monitor the premises, Mexico City police chief Joel Ortega said.

During church services, 46 police will be present at the cathedral and four patrol cars will monitor the surrounding area. Police will also conduct searches of any bags that people bring into the church. 

"The biggest symbol for us Catholics is reopening, this is very important for us," churchgoer David Paz told local radio station Formato 21.

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