TWO white doves that were released as a peace gesture by children standing beside Pope Francis have been attacked by other birds.
As tens of thousands of people watched in St Peter's Square yesterday, a seagull and a large black crow swept down on the doves immediately after they were set free from a window of the Apostolic Palace.
One dove lost some feathers as it broke free from the gull. But the crow pecked repeatedly at the other.
It was not clear what happened to the doves as they flew off.
While speaking at the window beforehand, the Pope called for an end to violence in Ukraine after at least three people were killed during the latest clashes in the two-month crisis.
Police and demonstrators in Kiev clashed again yesterday during protests against President Viktor Yanukovich's abrupt turn away from the European Union towards Russia, Ukraine's former Soviet overlord.
"I am close to Ukraine in prayer," Francis said.