RIO DE JANEIRO — The archbishop of Rio de Janeiro has reassured young people planning to attend World Youth Day that the protests occurring in various cities in Brazil will not affect the massive event.
Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta told Vatican Radio June 21 he has spoken with Brazilian intelligence officials who have guaranteed that World Youth Day will be a safe event.
Millions have taken part in protests across Brazil in recent days, over an increase in the cost of public transportation, the high costs of the 2014 World Cup and demanding an end to government corruption.
Demonstrators have called for more investment in health care and education, rather than funding the soccer tournament.
Archbishop Tempesta said the demonstrations “are expressions that are part of a democratic country.”
The archbishop acknowledged the legitimacy of the protests, but he rejected the acts of violence that have resulted from confrontations between demonstrators and police.
“This is not cause for concern with regards to personal safety, because these demonstrations are taking place in very specific places in the city, with the protection of the police.”
Archbishop Tempesta said World Youth Day 2013 is a great experience for young people, not only from Brazil, but from all over the world, to remind them that they can make a difference if they live according to Christian values.
Young people who live according to these values can bring about change in the world “with a heart of justice and peace, and they can give a different meaning to the nature of these protests in Brazil by following the desire to seek a better future.”