As security forces in Myanmar intensify their crackdown on civilians, with disappearances, detentions and the killing of peaceful protesters, Pope Francis has appealed for an end to violence and the start of dialogue. Source: CNS.
“Once again, and with much sorrow, I feel compelled to mention the tragic situation in Myanmar, where so many people, especially young people, are losing their lives for offering hope to their country,” Pope Francis said at the end of his weekly general audience yesterday.
Without mentioning her name, the Pope recalled the iconic gestures of Sr Ann Nu Thawng, who made headlines when photographs were published of her kneeling before police seeking to shield peaceful protesters and of her extending her arms begging police not to shoot or hurt anyone.
“I, too, kneel on the streets of Myanmar and say, ‘Stop the violence’,” he said. “I, too, spread wide my arms and say, ‘Make way for dialogue’.”
Bloodshed “resolves nothing”, the Pope said, repeating his call for dialogue to begin.
The United Nations, human rights groups, bishops and Catholic organisations have condemned the actions of the Myanmar military, which has continued to crack down on protesters since its February 1 coup.
According to the UN Human Rights office, as of Tuesday, at least 138 people, including children, had been killed since the coup began, and more than 2100 civilians have been detained, according to the agency Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Pope says he, too, kneels on Myanmar streets, begging for end to violence (By Carol Glatz, CNS)