Pope in Rio: Throngs, a Bomb, Protests

His Fiat made a wrong turn, but it's been mostly smooth sailing

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 23, 2013 6:34 AM CDT

(Newser) – Pope Francis is back on his home continent for the first time this week, and what a reception he got. He landed in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro yesterday for a week of World Youth Day festivities to boisterous crowds, and a somewhat confused driver. The AP reports that the Fiat he was riding in from the airport took a wrong turn, missing the lanes that had been cleared for him and driving into ones packed with buses and taxis, forcing the pontiff's car to stop—at which point it was promptly rushed by thousands of people, who reached into the car's open window and snapped photos.

A Vatican rep says the pope wasn't worried, and assured anyone concerned about a perceived security breach that "there are no concerns for security." Apparently not, as the pope later rode in his open-air vehicle that was also surrounded by the screaming faithful. He apparently left his bulletproof popemobile in the Vatican garage so he could better connect with people. But it hasn't been all smooth sailing thus far. NBC News reports that a crude pipe bomb was found Sunday at a shrine he is set to visit, and about 1,500 protesters burned the governor in effigy last night outside Rio's Guanabara Palace, where Francis was meeting with the president. (Experts say the ire was focused on the government, not the pope, however.) But things may be calmer today: It's a planned day of rest for the pontiff.

A crowd of faithful cheer as Pope Francis rides in his popemobile in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday July 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
A crowd of faithful cheer as Pope Francis rides in his popemobile in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, July 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
A masked protester holding a Brazilian flag marches with others to a police station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Monday, July 22, 2013. The protesters went to the police station to demand the release...   (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
People reach out to Pope Francis as he rides in a popemobile through Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, July 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
In this photo released by Prefeitura do Rio, a member of security holds up a baby to Pope Francis as he rides in his popemobile into central Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, July 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Raphael Lima, Prefeitura do Rio)
Gay rights activists gather on the steps of a Catholic church near the government Guanabara Palace to protest homophobia during Pope Francis' visit to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, July 22, 2013. The...   (AP Photo/Nicolas Tanner)
In this image from video, a crowd mobs the silver Fiat carrying Pope Francis through Rio de Janeiro on Monday, July 22, 2013.   (AP Photo)
In this image from video, a crowd mobs the silver Fiat carrying Pope Francis, third car from left, through Rio de Janeiro on Monday, July 22, 2013.   (AP Photo)
Ecstatic believers forced the closed Fiat to stop several times as they swarmed around during the drive from the airport to an official opening ceremony in the center of the city.   (AP Photo)
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