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Pope calls for end to violence in Peru, respect for human rights

Pope Francis delivers his address from the window of the apostolic palace during the weekly Angelus prayer on Jan 22, 2023 in the Vatican. (ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP)

VATICAN CITY – 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

Protests have flared in Peru since President Pedro Castillo was ousted in December after attempting to dissolve the legislature to prevent an impeachment vote.

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"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.

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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.