Pope Francis on Sunday urged “serious dialogue” and defended the right to peaceful protest in Colombia, mired in a month-long social crisis compounded by police repression.
“The situation in Colombia is still worrying,” the Argentinian pontiff said during his Sunday Angelus prayer address at the Vatican.
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Francis said Colombia needed to advance “through serious dialogue, (whereby) fair solutions are found to the many problems it faces.”
He also called on Colombia’s security forces to “avoid, for humanitarian reasons, behaviours harmful to the population in the exercise of their right to demonstrate peacefully.”
Street protests and social unrest have swept the country in recent weeks resulting in more than 40 deaths while Colombia’s Covid-19 death toll has shot up past 80,000, exacerbating the social turmoil.
The protests began over proposed tax reforms that were swiftly shelved, but the unrest has widened into a manifestation of general anti-government sentiment.