VATICAN CITY, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Sunday called for an end to violence in Peru, where nearly 50 people have been killed during anti-government demonstrations in the past few weeks.
“No to violence, regardless of where it originates. No more deaths,” the Argentine pope said in Spanish at his weekly address to thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square, briefly departing from the rest of the address, which was in Italian.
Protests have flared in Peru since President Pedro Castillo was ousted in December after attempting to dissolve the legislature to prevent an impeachment vote.
“Violence extinguishes the hope of a just solution to problems,” Francis said.
Dozens were injured since tensions erupted again on Friday, as police clashed with protesters, with security forces in the capital Lima using tear gas to repel demonstrators who were throwing glass bottles and stones, as fires burned in the streets.
“I encourage all sides to take the path of dialogue among brothers of the same nation, in full respect of human rights and the rule of law,” Francis said.
The unrest, which until this week had been concentrated in Peru’s south, has prompted the government to extend a state of emergency to six regions, curtailing some civil rights.
Francis also called for peace and mutual forgiveness in Myanmar, where at least seven civilians were killed this week when armed forces launched air strikes on a village in the country’s central Sagaing region.
Myanmar has been gripped by fighting since the army overthrew an elected government in February 2021. Resistance movements, some armed, have emerged across the country, which the military has countered with lethal force.