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Spanish atheist group barred from march

March 27, 2013 at 4:58 PM

MADRID, March 27 (UPI) -- The local government in Madrid has barred a Spanish atheist group from staging a march on Holy Thursday.

The Association of Atheists and Freethinkers is considering carrying on with the march anyway, The Local.es reported. The group said it wants to protest the $14 billion the Catholic Church in Spain receives in annual subsidies at a time when social services are being slashed.

Luis Vega, the group's leader, described Holy Thursday, when the church commemorates Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples, as a day when "the Catholic Church invades our streets."

Cristina Cifuentes, a local member of Parliament, told the Spanish news agency EFE the march would cause "public disorder" and that the group missed a deadline when it applied for a permit.

The group, which says it sought the permit in a timely manner, says it will make a final decision on the march Thursday.

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