Pope Francis urged the people of Sri Lanka to seek peace as the protests over government there have turned ugly this week.
On May 9, supporters of Prime Minster Mahinda Rajapaksa attacked the protesters that have for more than a month been seeking his resignation. In the midst of the conflict, Rajapaksa went on to resign, but the protests continued to get uglier.
Here is what Pope Francis appealed at the end of the general audience of May 11:
I address a special thought to the people of Sri Lanka, especially the young, who in recent times have made their voices heard in the face of the challenges and the social and economic problems of the country.
I join with religious leader in urging all sides involved to maintain a peaceful approach, without giving in to violence. I appeal to all those with responsibility to listen to the aspirations of the people, guaranteeing the full respect of human rights and civil liberties.
Roman Catholics and other Christians make up less than 10% of Sri Lanka’s population, which is majority Buddhist, with somewhat larger Muslim and Hindu minorities.