Pope Francis

Vatican City, (CNA).- Pope Francis appealed for an end to violence in Nigeria after reciting the Angelus Sunday.

Speaking from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square Oct. 25, the pope said he prayed that peace would be restored “through the promotion of justice and the common good.”

He said: “I follow with particular concern the news coming from Nigeria about the recent violent clashes between law enforcement agencies and some young protesters.”

Pope Francis

“We pray to the Lord that all forms of violence will always be avoided, in the constant search for social harmony through the promotion of justice and the common good.”

Protests against police brutality erupted in Africa’s most populous country Oct. 7. Demonstrators called for the abolition of a police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The Nigerian Police Force said Oct. 11 that it would disband SARS, but demonstrations continued. Armed men opened fire on protesters Oct. 20 in the capital, Lagos, killing at least 12 people, according to Amnesty International. Nigeria’s army denied responsibility for the deaths.

Nigerian police said Saturday that they would “use all legitimate means to halt a further slide into lawlessness,” amid looting and further street violence.