A call for peace dissolved into a vicious midair battle at the Papal Palace on Sunday.
Two children stood alongside Pope Francis and set two white doves free from an open window of the Palace as a symbolic call for peace in Ukraine.
Seconds later, a seagull and a large black crow descended on the doves and began violently attacking them. One dove lost a few feathers before breaking free from the gull, and the other dove struggled to escape the crow’s clutches.
Tens of thousands of people looked as this in-air drama unfolded above St. Peter’s Square.
Both doves eventually flew away, and the extent of their injuries was unclear.
The attack came just after Pope Francis told the crowd he hoped to spark a “constructive dialogue” surrounding the anti-government protests in Ukraine.
“I am close to Ukraine in prayer, in particular to those who have lost their lives in recent days and to their families,” he said.
Following the dove attack, some people on Twitter called the incident an “ill omen,” while others just found it ironic.
— p peter (@brpeterfj) January 26, 2014