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Ukraine Crisis: Riot Police Beg For Forgiveness From Residents (PICTURES/VIDEO)

25/02/2014 18:14 GMT | Updated 25/02/2014 18:59 GMT

Riot police in Ukraine have apologised on their knees for taking part in operations against anti-government protesters in Kiev.

As part of a rally in central Lviv last night, officers fell to their knees to ask for forgiveness for their colleagues who shot and beat antigovernment protesters during the months of turmoil.

Lviv, a city of 760,000 near Ukraine’s Western border with Poland, sent thousands of of people to Kiev to fill and defend Maidan. On February 19, the city declared independence from the government of President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted three days later by parliament.

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Many of Lviv’s police apparently fled the city, but the men pictured instead asked for forgiveness from the residents.

"I am asking you to forgive us," said one officer. "In memory of those who were killed, we want to kneel down."

The men never supported violence against peaceful people, he added.

The officers, who had returned from duty in the capital, were reportedly answered with chants of "Shame!" and "Tribunal."

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