RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — After an arrival that frightened aides but made him happy, Pope Francis is scheduled to take a day off in Brazil today for rest and private meeting.
Francis smiled as thousands of people rushed his car Monday after it became stuck in traffic when his driver made a wrong turn on a main avenue in the center of Rio. Other parts of the pope’s route were not lined with fencing, giving the throngs more chances to get close, with uniformed police nowhere in sight to act as crowd control.
As Vatican and Brazilian plainclothes security struggled to keep the crowds at bay, Francis rolled down his window, waved to the crowd and touched those who reached inside. He kissed a baby a woman handed to him.
Vatican officials insist they had no concern for the pope’s safety, but the papal spokesman acknowledged some “errors” may need correcting.
Francis arrived at a tense time for Brazil, as the country reels from sometimes violent protests that began last month.