Listen to Iraqi people's cries says Pope

Open dialogue for peace and reconciliation

(ANSA) - Vatican City, October 30 - Pope Francis on Wednesday urged "authorities" to "listen to the cries" of the Iraqi people.
    Speaking at his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square, Francis issued an appeal for his "beloved Iraq.
    "While I express condolences for the victims (of the latest attack on protesters) and closeness to their families and the wounded, I urge the Authorities to listen to the cries of the population that is asking for a worthwhile and tranquil life.
    "I exhort all Iraqis, with the support on the international community, to travel the path of dialogue and reconciliation.
    "They must seek the right solutions for the challenges and problems of the country".
    Recalling the "protest demonstrations that have taken place this month," and left "numerous dead and wounded", Francis added: "I pray that that tortured people may find peace and stability after so many years of war and violence in which it has suffered so much".
    Masked gunmen opened fire at Iraqi protesters in the Shiite holy city of Karbala on Tuesday, killing 18 people and wounding hundreds, security officials said, in one of the deadliest single attacks since anti-government demonstrations erupted earlier this month.
    The overnight attack came as Iraqis took to the streets for a fifth straight day after a hiatus in the demonstrations that began earlier this month to protest government corruption, a lack of jobs and municipal services, and other grievances.
    The earlier protests also saw violence against protesters, and a total of 240 people have been killed since the unrest began.