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Pro-Ukraine protests sweep across Europe

Tens of thousands of people gathered in cities across Europe on Sunday to protest Russia’s war in Ukraine, although authorities also held small vigils in Russia to crack down on those protesters.

German unions called a protest in Berlin, and the sunny weather intensified their involvement. The march took him from Alexanderplatz in the city – a large square named after the Russian Tsar Alexander I – to a site near the Brandenburg Gate.

Many of the participants carried the blue and yellow flags of Ukraine, while others read “Stop the War” and “Peace and Solidarity of the People of Ukraine.”

Norbert Herring asked, “What are you doing to your neighbor?” he raised a sign that said. as the crowd passed by the Russian Embassy, ​​he said images from Ukraine were reminiscent of the bombing of cities during World War II.

Several people who took part in the Berlin protest said that the Russians were ashamed of their country.

“We are against this war, so we wanted to show our solidarity,” said Aleksandra Belozerova, a Russian student studying in Germany. “It’s the least we can do in this situation.”

His friend, Aliia Biktagirova, said the Russian phrase “No War” had a poster with the words “Star Wars” on it, reflecting censorship in Russia.

In Russia, where anti-war protests in Ukraine often have a harsh police response, the rights group OVD-Info said more than 668 people had been arrested in 36 cities in late Moscow.

In central places there was a great presence of police, including Manezhnaya Square near Kremlin, the agents were led by police vans in the images published by the Russian media.

The number of people protesting nationwide was much lower than in the last significant protests a week ago, when OVD-Info listed more than 5,000 people arrested.

Protests against the war also took place in Warsaw, London and the German cities of Frankfurt, Hamburg and Stuttgart.

A small far-right party staged a protest in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Dozens of people in the car waved Russian and Serbian flags, sounded horns and shouted slogans in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Some cars had “Z” painted on them. The letter is used in Russian armored vehicles in Ukraine and is now a symbol of support from Russian troops.

Despite formally demanding membership of the European Union, Serbia has refused to join international sanctions on Russia’s ally, despite voting in favor of a UN resolution condemning Moscow’s attack.

The main state-controlled media often reports on the pro-Russian war.

After rallies in Florence and Naples, Italians and Ukrainians living in Italy went to protest in Milan and Rome on Sunday against the war in Ukraine.

In Milan, the Italian capital’s capital, on the front lines of a march, protesters held a bloody bundle of cloth to represent children killed in attacks on Russian-Ukrainians.

Some children drew, and many marchers drew their cheeks the color of the Ukrainian flag.

Ahead of the march, protesters waved a huge rainbow-colored peace flag in a Milan square.

During the march in Rome, one of the participants had a cardboard sign that read “Close the sky”, an apparent reference to Ukraine’s plea to NATO to establish a no-fly zone for Ukraine.

Like NATO allies, the Italian government has ruled out a no-fly option, saying the move could risk spreading many conflicts in Europe.

Pope Francis condemned the “barbarism” of killing children and other defenseless civilians in Ukraine. The Vatican said 25,000 people had gathered in St. Peter’s Square for a regular rally on Sunday, saying the attacks should be stopped “before the city can be turned into a cemetery.”

In Cyprus, dozens of Russian citizens rallied on Sunday in the coastal town of Limassol to protest the war in Ukraine.

About 50 Russians rallied on the Limassol promenade before joining other protesters, chanting slogans such as “Stop the war, stop Putin” and waved the white-and-blue flags of the Russian flag without a red line that indicated “blood and violence.”

Demonstrator Evgeniya Shlykova, who has lived and worked in Cyprus for five years, told the Associated Press that despite Russian propaganda, Ukraine “did not deserve this action by our government” and that the protesters demanded an immediate end to the war. don’t help “.

“I think Putin is the person who did the most to weaken Russia and not unite,” said Shlykova, who blamed Russia’s president and supporters for angering the world, who is proud of its humanistic and cultural values. . “But now Russia is the aggressor of the whole world, and we are protesting.”

On Sunday morning, Ukrainian citizens and supporters of Taiwan also marched in Taipei to protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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