Pope Francis called on Sunday for dialogue and justice to put an end to violent unrest in Kazakhstan, adding he was saddened by news about deaths occurred in the country.
“I have learned with sorrow that there have been victims during the protests that have broken out in recent days in Kazakhstan,” the pope told hundreds of people in St. Peter’s Square for his noon blessing and address.
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“I pray for them and for their families, and I hope that social harmony will be restored as soon as possible through the search for dialogue, justice and the common good,” the pope said.
Kazakhstan authorities said on Sunday they had stabilized the situation across the country after the deadliest outbreak of violence in 30 years of independence, and troops from a Russian-led military alliance were guarding “strategic facilities.”
Russia’s Sputnik news agency cited Kazakhstan’s Health Ministry as saying a total of 164 people, including two children, were killed in Kazakhstan over the last week.
Demonstrations began a week ago against a fuel price rise before exploding into a wider protest against the government.
Read more: Kazakhstan says situation stabilized, president firmly in charge after unrest