The Herald Bulletin

Midday Update

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July 23, 2013

Brazilian crowds delight pope, frustrate security

(Continued)

RIO DE JANEIRO —

Francis displayed that humility in greeting President Dilma Rousseff, saying he understood that to really know Brazilians, one must pass through their heart.

"So let me knock gently at this door," Francis said in Portuguese at the official welcome ceremony. "I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given to me: Jesus Christ."

On the plane en route to Rio, he had lamented that an entire generation of young people risked not knowing what it's like to work thanks to an economic crisis that has seen youth unemployment skyrocket in many European countries while leaving the poor of the developing world behind.

"People get their dignity from work, they earn their bread," he told reporters aboard the plane. "Young people in this moment are in crisis."

Francis arrived at a tense time for Brazil, as the country reels from sometimes violent demonstrations that began last month as a protest against public transport price hikes and mushroomed into a wave of protests against government corruption, inefficiency and spending for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

Those protests continued after Francis' arrival. Police and anti-government protesters clashed outside the government palace. About an hour after the pontiff concluded his short speech, police began cracking down on the protests, firing rubber bullets in an effort to disperse the crowd.

The government spent about $52 million for Francis' visit, but he does not appear to be a focus of protesters' rage.

"We've got nothing against the pope. Nobody here is against him," said Christopher Creindel, a 22-year-old art student and Rio native protesting outside the government palace. "This protest is against our politicians."

Lombardi confirmed that a homemade explosive device was found Sunday by Brazilian authorities in a public toilet near the basilica at Aparecida, a Marian shrine that Francis will visit Wednesday. Vatican security was informed of the device but didn't think it was aimed at the pope, Lombardi said.

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