Pope Francis arrives in crisis-hit Peru


Pope Francis waves to crowds in Lima, Peru. Photo: 18 January 2018Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Pope Francis was greeted by thousands of people on the streets of Lima

Pope Francis has arrived in Peru on the final leg of a two-nation trip to South America.

He was met at Lima airport by Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who appealed to the pontiff to help resolve a continuing political crisis.

Peruvians have been protesting against the authorities’ decision to pardon former President Alberto Fujimori.

The Pope arrived from Chile, where he met victims of sexual abuse by priests in the country.

The 81-year-old Argentine pontiff said he felt “pain and shame” over the scandal, asking the victims for forgiveness.

He has been criticised in Chile for a decision to ordain a bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse by a priest.

Pope Francis landed in the Peruvian capital on Thursday.

Before his arrival, President Kuczynski called the pontiff a “messenger of peace and hope”.

He said he hoped the Pope’s visit would help to heal the nation.

The protests in Peru began after Mr Kuczynski pardoned the former president on health grounds on Christmas Eve.

Mr Kuczynski later acknowledged the anger at his decision but said he could not “allow Alberto Fujimori to die in prison”.

Fujimori, who was serving 25 years for human rights abuses and corruption, has low blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat.

In Peru, Pope Francis will visit the cities of Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo, before holding a Mass in Lima on Sunday.



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