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Posted: January 27, 2014

Peace doves released by Vatican attacked mid-flight

Alessandra Tarantino / AP
Pope Francis waves to faithful from his pope-mobile as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Jan. 22, 2014.

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            Peace doves released by Vatican attacked mid-flight
Pope Francis waves to faithful from his pope-mobile as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Jan. 22, 2014.

By Jasmine Bailey

It was supposed to be a symbol of peace from the Vatican Sunday. But watch what happened after two doves were released following a prayer by Pope Francis. 

"Tens of thousands watch as two children stood along side Pope Francis at his papal window. The children released a pair of doves, but the birds of peace were quickly attacked by two birds of prey." (Via CTV)

One dove lost feathers after being attacked by a seagull. The other was continually pecked by a crow. (Via Wikimedia Commons / PolitikanerFlickr / Tatiana Gerus

Both doves managed to escape, but it's not clear what happened to them after flying away. The shocking sight happened after the pope finished a prayer for peace in Ukraine where violent protests have been raging since late November.

They began after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a popular trade treaty with the European Union, instead moving to strengthen ties with Russia. (Via Euronews

Since the protests calling for Yanukovych's resignation began, six people have died and more than 1,000 have been injured. (Via ITN)

In his prayer, the pope called for a constructive dialog for peace in Ukraine:

"Urging both sides to avoid violence and reminding that 'the spirit of peace and a search for the common good' should be 'in the hearts of all.'" He added: "I am close to Ukraine in prayer, in particular to those who have lost their lives in recent days and to their families." (Via RT)

Bad omen? Well, this kind of thing has happened before in St. Peter's Square. Almost exactly one year ago, Pope Benedict XVI stood before a crowd and released two doves, which were also attacked by a seagull. (Via Time)

For the record, seagulls are known to be highly territorial animals — which could explain the repeated attacks.

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