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
Pope in Rio: Throngs, a Bomb, Protests
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)

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. (Read more Pope Francis stories.)

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