March 1, 2015 / 12:57 PM / 5 years ago

Pope Francis prays for teenager killed in Venezuela protest

Pope Francis leads a special audience with members of the confederation of Italian cooperatives in Paul VI hall at the Vatican February 28, 2015. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

ROME (Reuters) - Pope Francis called on Sunday for an end to political violence in Venezuela and said he would pray for a teenager killed during an anti-government demonstration last week.

Protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro turned violent in the city of San Cristobal where 14-year-old Kluibert Roa was shot dead. A 23-year-old policeman has been detained and charged over the killing.

In his weekly Angelus address in Saint Peter’s Square, Francis, the first Latin American pope called on all sides to renounce violence and to begin talking.

“I would like to recall Venezuela, which is once again experiencing new moments of acute tension ... I pray for the victims and in particular for the boy killed a few days ago in San Cristobal,” said Francis, who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“I call on everyone to reject violence and urge respect for the dignity of all persons and for the sacredness of human life and I encourage a return to a common movement for the good of the country with the opening up of areas for sincere and constructive meeting and dialogue,” he added.

Reporting by James Mackenzie

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