Protesters gather at Cardinal George Pell's funeral

STORY: Protesters gathered mostly in a park opposite the cathedral, holding banners and chanting "George Pell go to Hell".

Protester Russell Manser said: "He was a pedophile facilitator and he couldn't be looked at in any other way. That's how we should be remembering him, a man that thought, you know, hurting children and abusing children was OK."

A mourner at the funeral, John Paul, disagreed with the protests. "This is a private funeral for an individual and it's completely inappropriate," he said.

Australian police said it had dropped a court bid to block the gathering after protesters agreed to change their initial protest route and gather in a road adjacent to St Mary's Cathedral, the venue of the funeral service.

Pell's body has lain in state since he died at the age of 81 in a Rome hospital last month from heart complications after a hip surgery.

An Australian appeals court ruling in 2020 quashed the convictions of Pell, a leading Roman Catholic conservative, for sexually assaulting two choir boys in the 1990s.

A separate inquiry that year found Pell was aware of child sex abuse by at least two priests in the 1970s and 1980s and failed to take steps to get the priests removed.