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Vatican spokesman: cautious optimism on protests in Egypt, Tunisia

Catholic World News - February 09, 2011

Father Federico Lombardi, director of Holy See Press Office, describes recent protests in Tunisia and Egypt as a manifestation of citizens’ desires for greater liberty and expresses hope that these desires will be translated into greater respect for religious freedom.

“We all hope that the people involved will be spared violence and blood and that the times of instability will not be prolonged, at which point the risk of opposition and clashes is greater,” he said. “Naturally, the economic difficulties, the condition of poverty that tests large strata of the populations, made more acute by the global economic crisis, had great weight in the origin of the protests.”

Noting that the protestors are not moved solely by their economic situation, Father Lombardi said that “now there are whole peoples that, to realize their dignity better, appeal for a more responsible exercise of their rights of citizenship, which every human person, every religion is entitled to.”

“Christians are a very small minority, but they are in solidarity with all in these expectations and hopes,” he added. “If these nations of Muslim majority succeed in the critical enterprise of growing in dialogue, in respect of the rights of all, in participation, in liberty, the peace of the world will be more secure.”

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