Pope says hopes of Myanmar people cannot be 'suffocated by violence'

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Wednesday the hopes of the people of Myanmar cannot be “suffocated by violence” and again called for the release of political prisoners.

At least 30 people have been killed since a coup on Feb. 1. The pope visited Myanmar in 2017.

Francis, speaking at the end of his general audience, appealed directly to Myanmar’s military authorities “so that dialogue prevails over repression and harmony over discord”.

He also appealed to the international community “to see to it that the hopes of the people of Myanmar are not suffocated by violence”.

Young people in the country, he said, deserved a future “where hate and injustice give way to encounter and reconciliation”.

Francis repeated an appeal he first made last month, asking the country’s military leaders to made a concrete gesture of reconciliation by releasing political prisoners.

Elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi is among those detained.

Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Toby Chopra and Alex Richardson