Bomb found near site of pope visit

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jul 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-22 18:46:48-04

(CNN) — A small explosive device was found Sunday near a religious sanctuary that Pope Francis is to visit in Brazil on Wednesday, military police in the state of Sao Paulo confirmed to CNN.

The “homemade explosive” was found during a police training session in a parking lot at the sanctuary, located in the city of Aparecida, police said. No details of the device were provided.

“The artifact was sent to military authorities for verification,” police said. “Security personnel quickly cordoned the area off.” A tactical squad was called in to destroy the device “without any further risk,” it said.

Francis landed in Rio de Janeiro on Monday for the start of the Roman Catholic Church’s World Youth Day. Hundreds of thousands of pumped-up young Catholic pilgrims are on hand for the week-ong festival, hosted by a country eager for good news after a summer of protests.

Anger over high taxes, corruption and lavish spending on the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament spurred Brazilians to turn out for the largest protests seen in 20 years.

The demonstrations, held in Sao Paulo, Rio and the capital of Brasilia, were sparked by a planned increase in bus fares in June.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff promised to address the concerns, announcing that she heard “the direct message from the streets” for better services and social reforms.

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