- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Let the finger-pointing begin. Security teams for Pope Francis were in turmoil on Tuesday, blaming each other for the lapses that led to a wrong turn down Rio de Janeiro streets, a rush at the pontiff’s car and a halt to the procession — safety compromises that don’t bear well for the city that’s supposed to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

The pope is in Brazil for a seven-day tour — the first foreign trip he’s made as pontiff — and to mark World Youth Day celebrations.

But so far, security has been a problem.

Authorities discovered on Sunday a homemade pipe bomb at one shrine he was due to visit in Aparacida, Sao Paulo, NBC reported.

Violence broke out Monday when police clashed with protesters outside Rio’s Guanabara Palace, where Pope France was meeting with Brazil’s president, and hundreds of dignitaries gathered.

And mobs rushed the pope’s open-window vehicle on Tuesday, as he rode through the streets of Rio, waving and greeting well-wishers and faithful followers — heading down a wrong street at one point, due to faulty convoy leadership.

By late Tuesday, authorities were bickering over blame.

Federal Police told local media outlets that the Federal Highway Police were to blame, The Associated Press reported.

Highway police, meanwhile, said they were only following orders from Federal Police. And the mayor’s office in Rio claimed no knowledge of any security plans, and said the pope’s travel from the airport to the city — and the accompanying security lapses that led to mob rushes — was not really anybody’s fault, but he was glad nobody was hurt, AP reported.

Meanwhile, crowd watchers wondered: Where are the police?

Brazil authorities said about 10,000 police officers and 14,000 soldiers were supposed to be tasked with papal security. On Monday, no uniformed officers could be seen in the crowds that mobbed the pope’s travels, AP reported.



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