Barricades against protesters put damper on pope’s well-wishers

A protester holds a sign outside Guanabara Palace in Rio de Janeiro July 22 during Pope Francis’ meeting with Brazilian officials. The sign includes an apology to the pontiff for the protest and stated that protesters are “restructuring” the country. (CNS/Lise Alves)

By Lise Alves
Catholic News Service

RIO DE JANEIRO (CNS) — The dream of trying to see Pope Francis up close ended at a police barricade for 74-year-old Odaleia Bastos.

“I don’t understand why we can’t get closer,” she said as she argued with police officers. “The population will protect the pope,” she kept telling them.

Bastos, like many residents of Rio’s Laranjeiras neighborhood, had hoped to see the pope as he entered the Guanabara Palace, the governor’s official residence, for his first official event in the city. Instead, she and hundreds of well-wishers were met with police security forces and riot police.

(full story)