April 22, 2018 / 11:27 AM / a month ago

Pope calls for end to deadly violence in Nicaragua after protests

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis called on Sunday for an end to the violence in Nicaragua, where at least six people have died in protests against unpopular changes in social security.

A demonstrator holds up a Nicaragua flag next to a burning barricade as demonstrators take part in a protest over a controversial reform to the pension plans of the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute (INSS) in Managua, Nicaragua April 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

Speaking to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday address, Francis called for “an end to every form of violence and to avoid the useless shedding of blood.”

Francis, the first Latin American pope in history, called for differences to be “resolved peacefully and with a sense of responsibility”.

On Saturday, after four days of protests, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, facing the biggest crisis of his leadership, said he was ready to consider changing an unpopular social security overhaul.

The measures increase worker contributions and lower pensions.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Edmund Blair

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