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Published On: Wed, Jul 24th, 2013

Bomb scare in Brazil doesn’t hinder visit from Pope Francis as protesters gather

A bomb has been found at a shrine that Pope Francis was due to visit this week and hold a mass.

The homemade explosive device was discovered in the bathroom of the shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, in the parking lot, reports ABC.es.

Pope Francis I  March 2013 photo by Casa Rosada via wikipedia

Pope Francis I March 2013 photo by Casa Rosada via wikipedia

The Sao Paulo military police detonated the bomb, which had a fuse and a dynamite-like covering, after members of the Brazilian Air Force found it while conducting a security inspection.

A statement released by the police said, “It was a home-made device with little potential to cause fatalities.”

“There are no concerns for security. The concerns are that the enthusiasm is so great that it’s difficult to respond to so much enthusiasm for the pope. But there is no fear and no concern,” Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi told reporters.

The Anti-bomb squadron carried out the disposal safely, noting, “such episodes formed part of our security forces’ training in Aparecida and at no point were civilians’ lives in danger.”

A huge crowd cheered as Pope Francis, in his first international trip as pontiff, walked onto the tarmac in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to begin a weeklong journey in the world’s most populous Roman Catholic nation.

He was greeted with applause, a choir and a bouquet of flowers on his way to attend the Roman Catholic World Youth Day festival.

In a speech soon after his arrival, he urged young Catholics to “make disciples of all nations.” “I came to meet young people coming from all over the world, drawn to the open arms of Christ the Redeemer,” he said at the governor’s palace, referring to Rio’s famous vast statue of Jesus.

About an hour after the welcoming ceremony, however, police fired stun grenades and tear gas against the demonstrators outside the palace, the BBC said. It was the latest rally against what the protesters described as endemic government corruption across the country; but some were also unhappy about $53 million (£34 million) in public funds being spent for the pontiff’s visit.

The authorities have increased security during the Pope’s seven-day visit, following weeks of nationwide protests against corruption and bad governance.

Pope Francis refused to use an armored Popemobile, despite requests from Brazilian officials.

Some 30,000 security staff — army and police — are on duty throughout his visit. More than a million young Catholics are expected to gather in Rio for World Youth Day, which takes place every two years, and is a celebration of the Catholic faith. 

 

 

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