About 200,000 people from all over Italy took part in the event, which culminated in the city of the saint of peace. Assisi and Perugia are about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from each other.
This year the march had three slogans: “Let’s declare poverty and war illegal. Let’s recover the U.N. I want this, you want this, we can do it.”
In a message sent to the participants through the Vatican secretary of state, Benedict XVI expressed the hope that the march would inspire an “ever more generous promotion of the values of justice and peace in respect of the rights of all.”
In his letter, the Pope invited the participants “to follow the example of St. Francis and the luminous magisterium of John Paul II,” and encouraged them to “act so that hatred is replaced by love and egoism by fraternal sharing.”
For the occasion, the Archbishop of Perugia called for an interreligious vigil and appealed for the surmounting of the strongly politicized overtones which the march had for years.