Rio authorities rattled by chaos of pope's arrival
Police and World Youth Day organizers fret over security
Picture: Catholic News Service/Reuters
- July 24, 2013
The 76-year-old Argentine Pope may have been delighted by the reception he received on his first international trip as Pope, but Brazilian security forces were feeling the strain of the event after his car got stuck in traffic and was mobbed by crowds.
The car was pursued by thousands of cheering well-wishers and at one point the Pope's own security forces had to foreceably push people away, as they ran to get a glimpse of the head of the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff, was cheered by throngs of the faithful, but violent anti-government protests broke out later in the day as police used tear gas, to disperse scores of demonstrators at the state governor's palace.
A Vatican spokesman, speaking about security issues during the week-long visit, said:
"We are not worried about security, the worry is that the enthusiasm is so big that honestly it is hard to respond to so much enthusiasm, from the Pope and from the organisation, but we have no fear or worry."
Pope Francis travelled in an open-top jeep, after deciding to leave his armoured "Popemobile" behind, a decision that unnerved local authorities.