VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has expressed sorrow over the deadly violence used to repress social protests in Nicaragua.

Francis told thousands of pilgrims and others gathered in St. Peter's Square on Sunday that he was praying for the victims and families in Nicaragua.

He renewed his call for dialogue, stressing that "an active commitment to respect freedom and above all life is required" for that to happen.

More than 110 people have been killed since mid-April in clashes between loyalists to Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua's president since 2007, and opposition groups.

Francis prayed that "all violence ceases, and conditions are assured for the resumption of dialogues as soon as possible."