Pope urges end to Myanmar violence, evoking image of nun who knelt before soldiers

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis appealed on Wednesday (Mar 17) for an end to bloodshed in Myanmar, saying: “Even I kneel on the streets of Myanmar and say ‘stop the violence'”.

Francis made the appeal at the end of his weekly general audience, held remotely from the Vatican library because of COVID-19 restrictions.

More than 180 protesters have now been killed as security forces try to crush opposition to the generals who ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government and seized power themselves.

“One more time and with much sadness, I feel the urgency to talk about the dramatic situation in Myanmar where many people, most of them young, are losing their lives in order to offer hope to their country,” he said.

In an apparent reference to widely broadcast images of a nun in Myanmar kneeling in the street in front of armed security forces, Francis said: “Even I kneel on the streets of Myanmar and say ‘stop the violence.’ Even I open my arms and say ‘let dialogue prevail’.”

READ: ‘Shoot me instead’: Myanmar nun pleads with junta forces

Francis, who visited Myanmar in 2017, said: “Blood does not resolve anything. Dialogue must prevail.”

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