(Photo : Reuters)
According to the Secretary General of the Brazilian Presidency, Gilberto Carvalho, the mass protests that have shaken Brazil over the past few days could compromise the visit of Pope Francis next month to participate in the World Youth Day, the official said this weekend.
"We have a number of complications and concerns. What is happening (the protests) may be reflected in the event (World Youth Day). We have to be prepared as the (Catholic fest) may coincide with the demonstrations in the country," said Carvalho during a meeting in Brasilia with the organizers of the event, according to a transcript of his words.
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"I cannot say that the conference will take place in a climate like that of the present day because the situation evolves so rapidly that it is difficult to predict what will happen. To say what will happen would be foolhardy, but we have to be prepared in the event of a similar situation as the current one", he added.
The Secretary General of Presidency said that the government will make every effort to ensure the success of the visit of the Pope to Rio de Janeiro between July 22 and 28.
On Thursday, more than one million people marched in more than 100 Brazilian cities in escalating protests over the high cost of hosting the World Cup and inadequate funding for social programs.
More than two million people from around the world are to attend the major Catholic youth festival scheduled for July 23-28 in Rio, one of the Brazilian cities hardest hit by the protests.
Pope Francis will attend as part of his first foreign trip since his election in March. During his stay at the world's largest Catholic country, he was hoping to visit the Manguinhos in Río de Janeiro, one of the city's most visible favelas, wedged between a busy highway and a former oil refiner, near the main airport and large military bases.
It is planned for the Pope to also meet young prisoners, who will be brought to the archbishop's residence for the occasion, and address Brazil's political and business leaders. The former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires is expected to visit his homeland early next year.
Carvalho said Brazil will do its utmost to ensure that the festival is "what we dream of" and "a sign of mobilization for hope, peace".