As the Pope arrives in Brazil, police find a small explosive in a parking garage near a Catholic sanctuary in the city of Aparecida where he is scheduled to visit later this week.
The homemade explosive, made with a plastic pipe wrapped in tape, was safely detonated by a police bomb squad.
The device was found in the bathroom of a parking structure in Aparecida, a city in Sao Paulo state whose sanctuary honors the patroness of Brazil, Our Lady of Aparecida. It was unclear if the device was related to the Pope’s visit.
Violent protests broke out in front of the Guanabara government palace in Rio de Janeiro on Monday night, less than an hour after Pope Francis left the venue following his official welcome ceremony.
Clashes broke out when around 300 protesters began to hurl firebombs at riot police near the palace.
Riot police responded by firing rubber bullets at protesters and pursuing them down the street.
The protests are a continuation of the widespread anti-government unrest that began last month.
The violence only lasted about 15 minutes and ended with two protesters arrested and four injured.
Meanwhile, peaceful protesters massed at another location near the palace’s security perimeter to demonstrate against corruption in the government.
Protesters held up placards denouncing government corruption and called on others to join their demonstration with chants of “Come to the streets against oppression”.
They also set fire to a mannequin representing Rio state Governor Sergio Cabral, whom they accuse of being corrupt.
Protesters have also expressed dismay at the cost of Pope Francis’s trip.
It’s estimated that the Brazilian government has spent around 52 (m) million US dollars on the visit.
One protester on Monday said he wanted the Pope to see what Brazil was really like.
“This security that we have today we do not have this in our everyday life, our situation in this country, we want to show the Pope the reality in this country,” said Adriano Ribeiro.
Despite the protests, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters at a news conference on Monday night that there were no concerns about the Pope’s safety.
“We are not worried about security, the worry is that the enthusiasm is so big that honestly it is hard to respond to so much enthusiasm, from the Pope and from the organisation, but we have no fear or worry,” Lombardi said.
The Pope is in Brazil on a 7-day visit for the World Youth Festival.