Pope Francis was hit by a flying object thrown through the window of his popemobile on the first day of his visit to Chile.
Local television cameras captured the moment that he was hit by the soft item as he waved to huge crowds of people as reported by metro.co.uk.
The object was thought to be a towel or item of clothing, and the 81-year-old was unhurt. His visit is controversial as Chile has been rocked by allegations of child abuse within the Catholic Church, causing the pope to apologise and vow it will never happen again.
He said: ‘I cannot begin to express the pain and shame that I feel over the irreparable harm caused to children by some ministers of the church.’
Despite his remorse, the pope is unpopular among many Chileans, and there have been widespread protests marring his visit. More than 50 people were arrested as scuffles broke out between riot police and demonstrators near O’Higgins Park.
Officers were forced to use armoured vehicles to fire water cannons at protesters. On Tuesday, the pope spoke alone with a small group of victims who had been sexually abused by priests.
The Vatican said that they ‘spoke of their suffering to Pope Francis, who listened to them and prayed and cried with them’. But some protesters seized on the pope’s appointment of Roman Catholic bishop Juan Barros, who has been accused of protecting an alleged paedophile.
A man dressed as the pope and two other people dressed as nuns unfurled a banner from the balcony of a nearby building that read: ‘Francis, accomplice of paedophile crimes.’ Bishop Barros denies covering up sexual abuse.