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Published on Feb 25, 2014
UKRAINE Police Officer KNEELS DOWN and Apologizes to Crowd Ukrainian riot police have dropped to their knees and begged fellow citizens for forgiveness for their role in the bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters last week that left more than 100 dead. Around 100 police from the western Ukraine city of Lviv pleaded with the crowd on Monday night, telling them they were not involved in the deadly oppression of protesters. They then swore to take the side of the people in the future. But many in the angry crowd were not satisfied and shouted "shame!" back at them, calling for a tribunal while some people pelted them with small objects. A priest took to the stage to ask for calm, calling on some of the activists in the crowd to hold the angry citizens back from storming the police. In the days after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's fled the country, anti-government protestors lashed out at the Berkut — the country's elite anti-riot police — for their cruel tactics. As well as the dozens killed in Kiev's Independence Square, protesters point to the treatment of Mikhailo Gavrilyuk who was beaten, stripped naked and humiliated in a video taken by Berkut members last month. In their defence, the Berkut maintains they acted in accordance with the law and only used tear gas canisters, stun grenades and rubber bullets in their crackdown. The Special Forces also point out some of their members were killed while other were shot or stabbed in the battle with protesters.
In the last week, Ukraine experienced some of the worst violence the country has seen since the Soviet era. In two days of brutal fighting in Kiev's Independence Square, at least 75 people were killed, according to Reuters.
On Monday, Ukraine's acting interior minister issued a warrant for the arrest of President Viktor Yanukovich on charges of mass murder. Yanukovich fled Kiev on Saturday. Still reeling from last week's violence, mourners held a memorial service in Independence Square on Monday to honor those killed: