Ships to guard Copacabana Beach for pope’s Mass

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil’s Defense Ministry says four navy ships will watch over Copacabana beach when Pope Francis celebrates Mass there Friday.

The ships will cruise the length of the famed beach checking boats near where Francis will give the Mass before at least a million participants for World Youth Day.

A ministry statement Wednesday says the security plan includes four other ships and 22 smaller boats to watch the beaches of Rio de Janeiro state during the pontiff’s visit.

Security during Francis’ visit has been a worry for Brazilian authorities because of his insistence on having contact with the faithful.

The pope’s motorcade was swarmed upon his arrival Monday. The security situation in the town of Aparecida on Wednesday was far more controlled, with chest-high barriers keeping people far from his car.

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