Firebombs were set off at Guanabara Palace in Rio last night as Pope Francis arrived in Rio de Janeiro.

Protests broke out across Rio de Janeiro today as Pope Francis arrived. Tear gas and water canons were used after protesters threw a Molotov cocktail at the governor’s palace.
France 24 reported:

Hundreds of demonstrators protesting the $53m cost of the pope’s Brazil visit clashed with police on Monday in the capital of Rio de Janeiro. Tear gas and water canons were used after one of the protesters threw a Molotov cocktail.

The first day of Pope Francis’ Brazil visit on Monday was marked by clashes as Brazilian police dispersed hundreds of protesters with tear gas and water cannons. The incidents occurred near the Rio state governor’s palace, where Pope Francis and Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff were meeting.

A photographer was seen with his face bleeding on the ground and at least one demonstrator was detained moments after the pope left the palace where he had spoken alongside the country’s president, AFP correspondents said.

An officer told AFP that the police charged the crowd after someone threw a Molotov cocktail.

The demonstrators were protesting the $53 million in public funds spent for the pope’s visit, weeks after massive protests were held across the country to denounce corruption and government waste.

The violence marred the end of the pope’s first day in Brazil, which began with throngs of pilgrims lining the streets to warmly welcome the 76-year-old Argentine as he crossed the city in an open-top jeep.

Pope Francis has generally been greeted with a rapturous welcome in a country which has recently been gripped by social unrest.

Monday’s protesters, whose grievances were directed towards the Brazilian leaders rather than the pope himself, chanted “Go away Cabral, go away Dilma,” while a huge banner read: “Down with the fascist state and its anti-people governments”.

Clashes between police and approximately 300 protesters broke out infront of the Guanabara Government Palace less than an hour after Pope Francis left the building.

 

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