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TODAY   |  July 23, 2013

Pope’s car brought to standstill by crowds in Brazil

On his first trip abroad since becoming pontiff, Pope Francis found his car swarmed and brought to a standstill several times by eager crowds in Rio de Janeiro yesterday. Meanwhile, protestors angry with the Brazilian government clashed with police outside the governor’s palace. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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>> pope francis and security concerns that are arising from his arrival in brazil. nbc's ann thompson is traveling with the papal party in rio . good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. this is a chance for him to catch up with his younger sister who is in from ar ggentina. it's a chance to regroup after heart stopping moments on the pope's first day in rio .

>> reporter: the very sight of the first latin american pope brought an joy. but his car was swarmed and brought to a stand still several times by eager crowds. the pope appeared to love every minute as well wishers reached in. even stopping to kiss a baby.

>> obviously, he desires to have very direct contact with the people and not a militarization.

>> reporter: the largest police operation in the city's history, rio officials blame the confusion on a wrong turn by the pope's driver. officially welcomed by brazil's president at the governor's palace he brings neither gold nor silver to the nation hosting world youth day but the most precious thing he has, jesus christ . outside, protestors angry not at the pope but their own government clashed with police. once the pope left the area, riot police used tear gas to clear the demonstrators. on the flight to rio the pope did not directly address the unrest in brazil but did acknowledge the need for better economic opportunities for young people around the world and also took time to meet with the journalists traveling with him. i told the pope americans are excited about him and he laughed, thanked me and then said pray for me and blessed the medallion i wore. now, reporters brought the pope all kinds of things to bless. one even brought an ipad and that got a big laugh from the pope and as he left the back of the plane to go to the front he turned to us and said he felt like daniel in the lion's den but it turned out the lions after all weren't so ferocious.

>> thank you very much. ann thompson in brazil for us. we'll be talking about the security lapse. this wasn't a celebrity going to a movie premiere . this was a pope and this was a problem.

>> wait until you hear what a top security official in this country says. that's later