Pope Francis on Wednesday reiterated his call on Myanmar’s military junta to release all political prisoners and allow the country to continue its journey toward democracy.

The country’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi is among those detained, facing several charges, including causing “fear and alarm” and possessing illegally imported communications equipment.

“I would like to draw the attention of the authorities involved to the fact that dialogue prevails over repression and harmony over discord,” Pope Francis said, speaking at the end of his general audience. 

His comments came in the wake of another violent crackdown on protesters who were demonstrating peacefully against the coup. Security forces have killed at least 30 people participating in pro-democracy marches since the military coup on February 1.

“I repeat the wish I expressed a month ago,” he said, “that the path towards democracy taken in recent years by Myanmar may be resumed through the concrete gesture of the release of the various political leaders imprisoned.”

Only on Wednesday, the day of the Pope’s appeal, police forces in the country killed at least 9 people participating in the protests. 

On March 5, the Pope will visit Iraq, his first foreign trip since the outbreak of the pandemic. The landmark move was labelled as an “act of love for this land, for its people and for its Christians.”


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