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Protests Across Europe Show Solidarity with Ukraine, Demand End to Invasion


Paris Mayor and socialist presidential candidate Anne Hidalgo, right, walks with politicians holding a banner reading "Stand With Ukraine" during a march against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Paris, March 5, 2022.

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated on Saturday across European cities in support of Ukraine and demanding an end to Russia's invasion.

Citizens worldwide have been horrified by Russian President Vladimir Putin's attack, which began on February 24 and appeared to be entering a new phase with escalating bombardment.

Several thousand people gathered in Paris on Saturday afternoon to say, "no to war in Europe," an AFP correspondent said.

"We will be here every weekend, in Paris or elsewhere, until Putin leaves, withdraws his tanks," said Aline Le Bail-Kremer, a member of Stand With Ukraine, one of the groups that organized the protest.

"Despite the suffering, we will win," said Nataliya, a French-Ukrainian woman who did not wish to give her surname to protect her son who is in Ukraine.

About 25,000 demonstrators were expected in rallies in more than 100 cities in France, a French police source said.

Women with their faces painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag hold a banner and a Turkish flag with an image of Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as Ukrainians, Turks and Crimean Tatars protest Russia's war in Ukraine, in Ankara, Turkey, March 5
Women with their faces painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag hold a banner and a Turkish flag with an image of Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as Ukrainians, Turks and Crimean Tatars protest Russia's war in Ukraine, in Ankara, Turkey, March 5

Large crowd in Zurich

One of the largest rallies to demand the withdrawal of Russia's troops from Ukraine on the invasion's 10th day was in Zurich where organizers believed 40,000 people took part, Switzerland's ATS news agency reported.

Demonstrators in the largest Swiss city called for "peace now," while others carried signs saying: "Stop War" and "Peace."

Hundreds also turned out in London, including Ukrainians whose families fled Russian bombs.

"We need to keep on reminding everyone, we need to stay united to support our country," said Olena Marcyniuk, 36, at a protest in central London's Trafalgar Square with her children.

"Maybe somehow (we can) get through to Russia as well that the world is for Ukraine and that it needs to start acting to stop the war."

She said much of her family had fled but that her uncle stayed in Kyiv to "fight for the city."

A woman wears flowers with colors of the Ukrainian flag during a demonstration march against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Paris, March 5, 2022.
A woman wears flowers with colors of the Ukrainian flag during a demonstration march against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Paris, March 5, 2022.

'No to Putin, no to NATO'

In the center of Rome, unions and organizations rallied in a large "procession of peace," demonstrating against Putin but also NATO.

"No base, no soldier, Italy out of NATO," chanted pacifists preceded by a large flag in the colors of the rainbow.

"This is perhaps one of the first real demonstrations for peace," Italian cartoonist, actor and writer Vauro Senesi told AFP.

"Here no one believes we make peace with arms, that we make it by sending arms to one of the parties (Ukraine)."

More than 1,000 people also demonstrated in the Croatian capital Zagreb with banners saying: "Stop the War, Save Europe" and "Glory to Ukraine."

In the Balkans, the invasion has revived dark memories of the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, which killed more than 100,000 people during a series of conflicts.

Last weekend, hundreds of thousands also turned out in yellow and blue across Europe including in Russia, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic.

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