Thousands of gay rights protesters across Australia joined a black parade in protest over the Pope’s visit to the country.

A spokesman for the march said it was designed to tell the Pope “homosexuality is not a sin.”

Protesters carried placards with slogans reading “Pope go homo” and “Pope wanted for murder.”

Pope Benedict XVI had been in Australia as part of World Youth Day (WYD) a mass gathering of pilgrims aimed at encouraging them to “celebrate their faith around a particular theme.”

As pilgrims marched through from Anzac Parade and Moore Park Road, in Sydney on Sunday, thousands of protesters handed out free condoms along the route.

There was one reported clash between protesters and pilgrims. A Catholic man launched himself onto a gay protester, punching him on the neck.

He was arrested and later released without charge.

The protests were mostly peaceful. The New South Wales police had banned protesters from attending WYD under the guise it was illegal to “annoy” the protesters.

This ban was later overturned by the Australian Federal Court. Pope Benedict returned to Rome yesterday.