Protests erupt in Europe to demand an end to the Ukrainian invasion
On Saturday, tens of thousands of people demonstrated across European cities in support of Ukraine and demand an end to the Russian invasion.
Citizens around the world were horrified by the attack of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which began on February 24 and appears to be entering a new phase with the escalating bombing.
About 41,600 people demonstrated in 119 protests in towns and cities across France, according to Interior Ministry estimates. In Paris itself, about 16,000 people attended.
“We’ll be here every weekend, in Paris or anywhere else, until Putin leaves, and he pulls out his tanks,” said Allen Le Bill Cramer, a member of Stand with Ukraine, one of the groups that organized the protest.
“In spite of the suffering, we will win,” said Natalia, a French-Ukrainian woman who did not want to reveal her surname to protect her son who is in Ukraine.
Swiss news agency ATS reported that one of the largest gatherings demanding the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine on the 10th day of the invasion was in Zurich, where organizers believe 40,000 people took part.
Demonstrators in Switzerland’s largest city called for “peace now” while others carried banners reading “stop the war” and “peace”.
Hundreds also turned out in London, including Ukrainians whose families were forced to flee the Russian bombs.
“We need to keep reminding everyone, we need to stay united to support our country,” Olena Marcinyuk, 36, said at a demonstration in central London’s Trafalgar Square with her children aged 14 months to nine years.
“Maybe (we can) somehow get to Russia and that the world is for Ukraine and it has to start working to stop the war.”
She said that many of her family members fled but that her uncle remained in Kyiv “to fight for the city.”
‘No to Putin, no to NATO’ In central Rome, unions and organizations rallied for a big ‘peace march’, demonstrating against Putin as well as against NATO.
“No base, no soldier, Italy is out of NATO,” chanted pacifists and was preceded by a large rainbow flag.
“This may be one of the first real demonstrations of peace,” Italian cartoonist, actor and writer Fauro Senesi told AFP.
“Here no one thinks that we make peace with weapons, and that we make it by sending arms to one of the parties (Ukraine).”
More than a thousand people demonstrated in the Croatian capital Zagreb, carrying banners that read “Stop the war, save Europe” and “Glory to Ukraine”.
In the Balkans, the invasion revived dark memories of the bloody division of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, which killed more than 100,000 people during a series of conflicts.
Last weekend hundreds of thousands also turned up in yellow and blue across Europe including Russia, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic.
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