April 22, 2018 / 10:38 AM / a year ago

Pope calls for end to deadly violence in Nicaragua after protests

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis leads a mass to ordain new priests in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

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.

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.

Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Edmund Blair

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