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Rio mayor slams own organization of pope visit


Rio de Janeiro's mayor Friday gave high marks to the pope for his charismatic visit to Brazil, but said he and his city had done abysmally in organizing the event.

In an interview with CBN radio, Mayor Eduardo Paes said: "If you ask me to grade the organization of World Youth Day (WYD), I would say we are closer to zero than to 10."

"I am aiming for perfection, but when I cannot achieve it, I don't blame others and do not shirk my responsibility. Blame it on me, but don't destroy the image of our city," he added.

But, the mayor said, "I give a 10 to WYD, to the pope and the population."

Pope Francis' arrival in the city Monday was marred by security lapses, as his car was trapped several times by throngs of adoring well-wishers.

The city`s transport system transport has also been overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who sought to reach events on famed Copacabana beach, sparking traffic chaos.

And organizers had to move Sunday's final mass to Copacabana because the original site, a huge field outside Rio, became a mud field after days of rain.

Workers had toiled for months to build a huge stage in Guaratiba, but the site that was dubbed "the field of faith" will remain empty this weekend.

The pilgrims, who will hold an all-night vigil from Saturday to Sunday, will instead camp out on Copacabana.

World Youth Day is seen as a key test for Rio which will host games of next year's World Cup and the summer Olympics two years later.