VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis urged anti-austerity protesters who attended his weekly Angelus blessing to use dialogue and not violence to press their demands.
Addressing a group of protesters among the pilgrims gathered Sunday in St. Peter's Square, the pope appealed for "a constructive contribution, rejecting the temptation for conflict and violence and following always the path of dialogue."
The pope read aloud one of their banners: "The poor cannot wait." He urged everyone from charities to Italian authorities "to do everything possible so that every family can have a house" this holiday season.
Protests aimed at impressing upon Italian leaders the pain inflicted on ordinary people by the country's economic crisis have been under way across the country for two weeks. Some of them have erupted into violence.
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