Pro-Ukraine protests erupted across the world on Saturday, as thousands took to the streets from London to Rome to Barcelona to denounce Russia’s assault on its neighbour.
Moscow’s invasion has sparked global outcry and prompted punishing sanctions from the West, including some against Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.
Switzerland saw thousands of people gather across the country, including about 1,000 outside the United Nations’ European headquarters in Geneva.
The protesters demanded tougher actions from the government, which has so far shied way from imposing strict measures, choosing instead to stick closer to its traditional “neutral” stance.
In Russia’s neighbour Finland, thousands of people gathered in the capital Helsinki shouting “Russia out, down with Putin!”
– ‘Powerlessness’ –
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 recognise when history repeats itself?”
In the southern French cities of Montpellier and Marseille, hundreds marched on Saturday chanting “Stop war, stop Putin”, while further protests were also expected in Paris.
Dimitri, a Russian designer living in Barcelona, said he feared sanctions would take Russia set Russia’s development back.
In Britain, hundreds of protesters headed to Russia’s embassy in London, with some defacing the street sign of St Petersburgh Place opposite the embassy with fake blood.
In Georgia, almost 30,000 people hit the streets of Tbilisi Friday night, waving Ukrainian and Georgian flags and singing both countries’ national anthems.
“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.
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.
– ‘Anger’ –
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.
“My overriding feeling is anger. The last thing I imagined was Russians coming to kill my people,” the 40-year-old told AFP as she fought back tears.
“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.
Protests also took place in New York, Washington, Taiwan and Brazil.