ROME (AFP): Pope Francis on Wednesday (March 3) urged Myanmar's military authorities to prioritise dialogue over repression, after at least seven people were killed during pro-democracy protests.
"We are still getting sad news from Myanmar of bloody clashes with losses of human lives," Francis said during his weekly audience.
"I would like to draw the attention of the involved authorities so that dialogue may prevail over repression and harmony over discord," the 84-year-old Catholic leader said.
The international community should "work so that the aspirations of the people of Myanmar are not stifled by violence", Francis said.
The pope has already spoken out on at least two occasions to voice solidarity with the people of Myanmar following the February 1 coup, and to call for the release of detained leaders.
At least nine people were killed as Myanmar's security forces fired on pro-democracy protesters Wednesday, after the junta hit half a dozen detained journalists, including an Associated Press photographer, with criminal charges.
The country has been in chaos since the coup when the military detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, ending Myanmar's decade-long experiment with democracy and sparking daily mass protests.