Media coverage of the event in Britain and abroad has skewed decisively in favor of the rioters, with many editorials urging their readers to consider the centuries of oppression Catholics have suffered at the hands of the English. Most dramatic of all was Independent columnist Robert Fisk, who called a press conference to express his solidarity with the rioters before attempting to nail himself to a cross.
The day's events were punctuated by a statement from Pope John Paul II, who, despite his advanced age and physical frailty, had strong words for the British government. "O God," said the Pontiff to the ululating throng below, "shake the ground under Tony Blair's feet. Shoot lightning bolts up the Queen's ass. Destroy your enemies the Presbyterians, the sons of pigs and monkeys."
When questioned about his remarks afterward, the Pope replied, "I got a right to be hostile. My people been persecuted."