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‘Russia out, down with Putin!’: Worldwide protests held in solidarity with Ukraine

From Tehran to Tel Aviv and London to Buenos Aires, people take to the streets in support of Ukrainians and against Moscow’s military incursion into its neighbor

  • Demonstrators wave Ukrainian flags in order to show their support to Ukraine during a "We Stand with Ukraine" demonstration in Helsinki, Finland, on February 26, 2022. (Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva / AFP)
    Demonstrators wave Ukrainian flags in order to show their support to Ukraine during a "We Stand with Ukraine" demonstration in Helsinki, Finland, on February 26, 2022. (Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva / AFP)
  • A cyclist peddles past the main gate of the Ukrainian embassy where flowers, soft toys and posters are placed as a sign of support in New Delhi on February 27, 2022. (Money SHARMA / AFP)
    A cyclist peddles past the main gate of the Ukrainian embassy where flowers, soft toys and posters are placed as a sign of support in New Delhi on February 27, 2022. (Money SHARMA / AFP)
  • A woman holds a placard as people gather at Tokyo's Shibuya area to protest Russia's invasion of Ukraine, on February 27, 2022. (Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
    A woman holds a placard as people gather at Tokyo's Shibuya area to protest Russia's invasion of Ukraine, on February 27, 2022. (Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
  • The Russian consulate is pictured after it was tagged with swastikas in Strasbourg, eastern France, Feb.25, 2022. (Jean-Francois Badias/AP)
    The Russian consulate is pictured after it was tagged with swastikas in Strasbourg, eastern France, Feb.25, 2022. (Jean-Francois Badias/AP)
  • Demonstrators gather in protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Marseille, southern France, Feb. 26, 2022. (Daniel Cole/AP)
    Demonstrators gather in protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Marseille, southern France, Feb. 26, 2022. (Daniel Cole/AP)
  • Ukraine nationals living in Italy take photos outside the Colosseum lit with the Ukraine national flag in solidarity with the people of Ukraine in Rome, on February 24, 2022. (Domenico Stinellis/AP)
    Ukraine nationals living in Italy take photos outside the Colosseum lit with the Ukraine national flag in solidarity with the people of Ukraine in Rome, on February 24, 2022. (Domenico Stinellis/AP)
  • A demonstrator holds a sign depicting the Russian president as Adolf Hitler and reading 'Stop Putin' during a protest against Russia's military operation in Ukraine, in Barcelona on February 26, 2022. (Josep LAGO / AFP)
    A demonstrator holds a sign depicting the Russian president as Adolf Hitler and reading 'Stop Putin' during a protest against Russia's military operation in Ukraine, in Barcelona on February 26, 2022. (Josep LAGO / AFP)
  • Iranians and Ukrainian nationals rally in front of the Ukraine embassy in Tehran to show support for Kyiv and protest the Russian invasion, on February 26, 2022. (Photo by AFP)
    Iranians and Ukrainian nationals rally in front of the Ukraine embassy in Tehran to show support for Kyiv and protest the Russian invasion, on February 26, 2022. (Photo by AFP)
  • Demonstrators carry placards and flags during a protest march against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Tel Aviv, on February 26, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
    Demonstrators carry placards and flags during a protest march against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Tel Aviv, on February 26, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
  • Demonstrators hold their smartphones with torches lit as a Ukranian flag is waved during a rally in support of Ukraine, in Tbilisi on February 25, 2022. (Vano Shlamov / AFP)
    Demonstrators hold their smartphones with torches lit as a Ukranian flag is waved during a rally in support of Ukraine, in Tbilisi on February 25, 2022. (Vano Shlamov / AFP)
  • Women help hold up a Ukrainian national flag as they protest against Russia's invasion of the Ukraine, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Feb. 25, 2022. (Natacha Pisarenko/AP)
    Women help hold up a Ukrainian national flag as they protest against Russia's invasion of the Ukraine, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Feb. 25, 2022. (Natacha Pisarenko/AP)
  • A woman holds a portrait of Russian president Vladimir Putin with a bloody hand on his face as members of the Ukrainian community protest in front of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation on in Montreal, Quebec, February 25, 2022. (Andrej Ivanov / AFP)
    A woman holds a portrait of Russian president Vladimir Putin with a bloody hand on his face as members of the Ukrainian community protest in front of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation on in Montreal, Quebec, February 25, 2022. (Andrej Ivanov / AFP)

ROME, Italy — Pro-Ukraine demonstrations erupted across the world on Saturday, as thousands took to the streets from London to New York to Tehran to denounce Russia’s assault on its neighbor.

Moscow’s invasion has sparked global outcry and prompted punishing sanctions from the West, some directed against Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.

On Saturday, rallies were held in cities across the world to join the chorus of condemnation and urge an end to the bloodshed.

In Switzerland, thousands of people gathered across the country, including about 1,000 outside the United Nations’ European headquarters in Geneva.

Demonstrators draped in Ukraine’s national colors of blue and yellow flocked to the “Broken Chair” — a large sculpture symbolizing the civilian victims of war.

The protesters demanded tougher actions from the government, which has so far avoided imposing strict measures, choosing instead to stick closer to its traditional “neutral” stance.

Swiss-based Russians joined in to show their opposition to the war, holding signs saying “I am Russian.”

More than 3,000 people gathered in the French city of Strasbourg, the seat of the Council of Europe human rights organization, bearing placards calling Putin a killer and urging an end to the fighting.

“Putin and his entire clique will have to pay the price for this aggression and face an international court,” said Borys Tarasyuk, Ukraine’s permanent representative to the Council of Europe.

In France, there were protests in Paris, Montpellier and Marseille.

Demonstrators wave Ukrainian flags in order to show their support to Ukraine during a “We Stand with Ukraine” demonstration in Helsinki, Finland, on February 26, 2022. (Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva / AFP)

In Russia’s neighbor Finland, thousands of people gathered in the capital Helsinki shouting “Russia out, down with Putin!”

Around 3,000 people gathered in Vienna, with homemade placards bearing slogans such as including “Stop the War” and speeches from Austria’s Ukrainian community.

More than 1,000 demonstrators answered the call of trade unions and NGOs in central Rome, huddling around a podium bearing the words “Against War.”

‘Powerlessness’

Thousands of people had taken part in a torch-lit procession to the Colosseum, one of the Italian capital’s major landmarks, on Friday evening.

Putin was the march’s main target as banners caricatured him as an assassin with bloodstained hands and compared him to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler with the words: “Can you recognize when history repeats itself?”

“We’ve always been close to the Ukrainian people,” Maria Sergi, a 40-year-old Russian-born Italian, told AFP. “Our feeling of powerlessness is huge.”

Around a thousand anti-war demonstrators turned out to protest in Barcelona Saturday, said local police.

Dimitri, a Russian designer living in Barcelona, said he feared sanctions would set Russia’s development back.

“We’re all going to suffer,” the 37-year-old told AFP.

In Britain, hundreds of protesters headed to Russia’s embassy in London, with some defacing a street sign called “St. Petersburgh Place” opposite the embassy with fake blood.

Iranians and Ukrainian nationals rally in front of the Ukraine embassy in Tehran to show support for Kyiv and protest the Russian invasion, on February 26, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

And around 50 people in Tehran assembled by Kyiv’s embassy to Iran, an AFP correspondent saw, some holding candles and Ukrainian flags and chanting against the war and Putin.

Protests were also held in Israel, Estonia, India, Tokyo and New York over the weekend.

Demonstrators carry placards and flags during a protest march against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Tel Aviv, on February 26, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

‘Ukraine is bleeding’

In Georgia, almost 30,000 people hit the streets of Tbilisi Friday night, waving Ukrainian and Georgian flags and singing both countries’ national anthems.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine resonates strongly in Georgia, a fellow ex-Soviet republic that suffered a devastating Russian invasion in 2008.

“We have sympathy for the Ukrainians, perhaps more than other countries, because we’ve experienced Russia’s barbaric aggression on our soil,” Niko Tvauri, a 32-year-old taxi driver, told AFP.

Teacher Meri Tordia added: “Ukraine is bleeding, the world watches and talks about sanctions that won’t stop Putin.”

More than 2,000 protesters gathered outside the Russian embassy in Greece’s capital Athens on Friday evening following an appeal by the traditionally pro-Russian Communist and left-wing Syriza parties and more demonstrations followed on Saturday.

‘Anger’

The shockwaves from Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor have reverberated beyond Europe.

In Argentina, Ukrainians and Argentines with Ukrainian ancestry were among the almost 2,000 people who descended on Russia’s embassy in Buenos Aires on Friday.

They chanted “Glory to Ukraine, glory to its heroes” and the national anthems of Argentina and Ukraine.

Among the crowd was Tetiana Abramchenko, who moved to Argentina with her daughter in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

“My overriding feeling is anger,” the 40-year-old told AFP as she fought back tears. “The last thing I imagined was Russians coming to kill my people.”

A woman holds a portrait of Russian president Vladimir Putin with a bloody hand on his face as members of the Ukrainian community protest in front of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation on in Montreal, Quebec, February 25, 2022. (Andrej Ivanov / AFP)

In Canada, dozens of demonstrators braved a snowstorm in Montreal to protest outside Russia’s consulate on Friday afternoon.

“I am against this war. I hope this is the beginning of the end of this regime,” said Russian Elena Lelievre, a 37-year-old engineer.

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