Nightly News   |  July 23, 2013

Pope Francis ‘not at all afraid’ when mob rushed motorcade

Despite Monday’s incident where Brazilians descended upon Pope Francis’ motorcade, the Vatican says there will be no change in Pope Francis’ itinerary – and Brazilian officials are blaming each other for Monday’s mob scene. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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>>> there are growing concerns being raised by security experts tonight about the safety of the pope during his visit to brazil after the wild ride to the streets of rio , in what sure looked like a small rental cars with crowds crushing up close enough to touch him. and chaotic scenes of government protests overnight did nothing to calm those fears. tonight in rio a big crowd is out on copacabana beach . anne thompson is traveling with the pope and has our report.

>> reporter: there will be no change in pope francis' itinerary, despite these images that shocked the world. brazilian officials are blaming each other for monday's unnerving mob scene.

>> they should have warned the pope that that was not a good way to go.

>> the motorcade made a wrong turn into traffic. the surging crowd trapped the pope in his fiat van.

>> was the pope ever afraid last night?

>> he was not at all afraid. i can assure you of that. those around him, his secretary and some others in the car behind were a bit concerned. the pope was very at home. he's used to a latino welcome.

>> reporter: getting into his wide open pope mobile to greet even more people. rio can be a very dangerous city. last night this anti-government demonstration turned violent immediately after the pope left the governor's palace. demonstrators threw molotov cocktails at police, they responded with tear gas in force. before the violence broke out, this couple was five feet from the feet.

>> being that close is more exciting than anything i could have imagined.

>> reporter: that accessibility is why he's called the people's pope. choosing not to ride behind bulletproof glass in st. peter's square.

>> the intent of the mission is to show that the pope is a man of the people. if one of those people are injured, then the whole mission goes awry.

>> reporter: the price tag for national youth day is $50 million. at a time when the country is spending billions for next year's world cup and the olympics. some say priorities are misplaced.

>> high above the beach in rio , anne, thanks.