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Rapturous welcome for Pope in Brazil

Pope Francis got a rapturous welcome from tens of thousands of pilgrims on Monday as he arrived in Brazil on his first foreign trip as pontiff, but violent protests later swept the streets. The 76-year-old Argentine rode in a open-top jeep through the center of Rio de Janeiro, kicking off a week-long visit to a country whose Catholic numbers are slipping and in which economic progress has recently been joined by social unrest.

Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff, was cheered by throngs of the faithful, but police used tear gas, water cannons and stun grenades to disperse scores of rioters hurling firebombs after the Catholic leader met with President Dilma Rousseff at the state governor’s palace.
Earlier police blocked access to the palace as hundreds of Anonymous ‘hacktivists’ and gay militants rallied to denounce Rio state Governor Sergio Cabral’s policies as well as the $53 million spent on the pope’s landmark visit to what remains the world’s most populous Catholic nation.
‘Go away Cabral, go away Dilma,’ the demonstrators chanted while a huge banner read: ‘Down with the fascist state and its anti-people governments.’

Rousseff’s popularity has plunged in recent weeks, amid frustrations with corruption, poor public services and slowing economic growth.
Agencies

Agencies

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