Europe is facing its first big war in decades as a result of Russia’s huge military invasion of Ukraine. While world leaders doing protests to the crisis by imposing sanctions, shutting down airspace, cutting Russia off from global financial systems, and supplying Ukraine with arms and aid, ordinary people from Tokyo to Sydney to Buenos Aires are doing anti-war protests against the invasion in large numbers.
Rallies, protests, and vigils in support of Ukraine and against war are taking place in cities all around the world. Many of those in attendance have personal ties to either Ukraine or Russia, and many more want to demonstrate their solidarity for those who have been displaced and put pressure on political leaders to take action.
Anti-Russia Protests around the World
Around 100,000 protesters marched through Berlin on Sunday, marching from the Brandenburg Gate to the Russian Embassy and the Soviet War Memorial. “The Ukrainian and Russian community in Berlin are very strong, and for many—like myself—this is very personal,” said Georgiy Syunyaev, a research fellow at WBZ Berlin. “And I think for Germans that I saw today, it was quite important to see that the Russian community is strongly represented and does not support what Putin is doing.”
The photos pouring out of Ukraine, of people hiding in subway stations and bombed houses, are a reminder of World War II for some Germans at the rally—a devastating experience because of the guilt and anguish many Germans associate with it, according to Syunyaev, who was present at the protest.
Some people are personally affected by the invasion.
Flo Farghy, 31, was born in Poland and attended the London demonstration on Sunday. “Ukraine is our neighbor, and we’re very close culturally,” she said. “I think it today it’s Ukraine, but tomorrow it could be Poland, so we should be helping as much as we can.”
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Prague and Brno, the Czech Republic, some of whom had undoubtedly witnessed a Russian invasion firsthand. Czechoslovakia was invaded by Soviet-led soldiers in 1968. The troops were stationed there for more than two decades, with the last one leaving in June 1991.
Hundreds of protestors marched through Tokyo’s Shinjuku area last weekend, demanding that Russia be removed from the United Nations Security Council. On Saturday, protesters in Sydney marched through the rain, carrying Ukrainian flags. Demonstrators in Istanbul held signs with bloody handprints on them. Rallies and protests were held all around Chicago this weekend, with the Archdiocese hosting special services and Mayor Lori Lightfoot attending a rally on Sunday. Crowds gathered in front of the Russian embassy and the White House in Washington, D.C.
Protesters in Moscow were regularly outnumbered by riot police, who carried hand-written posters with peace signs and anti-war slogans in Russian and Ukrainian. The word “Enough” was written on the front of some of the masks.
Despite giving his accreditation to the police and wearing a press vest, a reporter for the independent television channel Dozhd was arrested during the protests.
Hundreds of anti-war protestors gathered outside the upmarket Gostiny Dvor department store in central Saint Petersburg, joining arms and chanting.
In reaction to Russia’s invasion by land, sea, and air, Ukraine’s Western allies have imposed unprecedented sanctions.
On Sunday, when Ukrainian fighters defending Kharkiv reported they had repelled an attack by invading Russian troops, Putin ordered his military leadership to put nuclear-armed units on high alert.
According to a protest monitoring group, police detained nearly 2,000 people at anti-war protests conducted in 48 locations throughout Russia on Sunday, as people defied the authorities to express their outrage over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to the OVD-Info monitor, which has tracked crackdowns on Russia’s opposition for years, more than 5,500 people have been detained at various anti-war protests since the invasion began on Thursday.