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Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets during clashes with demonstrators on Monday near the Rio de Janeiro state governor's mansion shortly after Pope Francis spoke there after meeting with President Dilma Rousseff and other government officials.

The Pope arrived to Rio de Janeiro earlier in the day amid heightened security with concerns there could be a repeat of the mass, and sometimes violent, demonstrations that plagued several Brazilian cities last month.

The government has deployed more than 20,000 soldiers, police and security officials for the papal visit.

While some of the measures are routine security provided for any visiting head of state, they are compounded by the popular draw of the Pope, especially because Pope Francis has said he plans to travel around the city in an open-top vehicle and occasionally mix with the throngs expected to turn out to welcome him.

The visit comes amid growing economic and social dissatisfaction in Brazil, which is home to more than 120 million Catholics. — Text by Reuters


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