Pope calls for dialogue in Lebanon following protests
Vatican City (AFP)
Pope Francis urged dialogue in Lebanon Sunday after days of sweeping protests against the political class, urging the country to respect "dignity and freedom".
Tension has mounted in recent days between security forces and protesters, who are blocking roads and bringing Lebanon to a standstill to press their demands for a complete overhaul of the political system.
"I would like to address a special thought to the dear Lebanese people, in particular to the young who... have made their cries heard in the face of the social and economic challenges and problems of the country," Pope Francis said.
"I urge everyone to seek the right solutions in the way of dialogue," he said after the Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's Square.
He said he hoped that "with the support of the international community, that country may continue to be a space for peaceful coexistence and respect for the dignity and freedom of every person, to benefit of the entire Middle East".
The protesters -- who have thronged Lebanese towns and cities since October 17 -- are demanding the removal of the entire political class, accusing politicians of all stripes of systematic corruption.
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