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Tens of thousands join rallies around the world in support of Ukraine | Ukraine

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in cities including Santiago, Vancouver Paris and New York in support of Ukraine, demanding an end to Russia’s invasion.

The protesters rallied on Saturday against Russian president Vladimir Putin’s attack, which began on 24 February and appeared to be entering a new phase with escalating bombardment.

About 41,600 people demonstrated in 119 protests in towns and cities across France, according to interior ministry estimates. In Paris itself, 16,000 gathered at Place de la Bastille.

“Despite the suffering, we are going to win, we are sure of it,” said Nataliya, a Franco-Ukrainian with the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag draped over shoulders, at the Paris protest.

She declined to give her full name because of concerns about the safety of her son in Ukraine. “We are proud of their courage, their determination,” she added.

“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 organisers of the protest.

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 organisers believed 40,000 people took part, Switzerland’s ATS news agency reported.

Large crowds march in Zurich.
Large crowds marched in Zurich on Saturday. Photograph: Michael Buholzer/EPA

Demonstrators in the largest Swiss city called for “peace now”, while others carried signs saying, Stop War, while others said Peace.

Hundreds also turned out in London, including Ukrainians whose families were forced to flee 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 aged 14 months and nine years.

“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.”

Much of her family had fled, but her uncle stayed in Kyiv to “fight for the city”, she said.

A demonstrator holds sign during a protest in Rome.
A demonstrator during a protest in Rome. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

In the centre of Rome, unions and organisations 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 colours of the rainbow.

“This is perhaps one of the first real demonstrations for peace,” Italian cartoonist, actor and writer Vauro Senesi said .

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

More than a thousand 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 break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, which killed more than 100,000 people during a series of conflicts.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, several thousand people gathered in New York’s Times Square.

They carried sunflowers, Ukraine’s national flower, and signs calling to, Stop Russian terrorism.

Many protesters focused their anger on Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Many protesters focused their anger on Russian president Vladimir Putin. Photograph: Ryan Walter Wagner/ZUMA Press Wire Service/REX/Shutterstock

At a podium, several speakers echoed Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s call for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which Nato has so far resisted for fear of triggering a direct conflict with Russia.

Hundreds also gathered outside the White House in Washington to demand a Nato no-fly zone and military assistance for Ukraine.

In Santiago, Chile, an anti-war protest broke out in front of the Russian embassy, while members of the Ukrainian community demonstrated in front of the Russian embassy in Colombia in the capital Bogotá.

A crowd of thousands showed their support for Ukraine in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Straight after the invasion, prominent Russians went public with their opposition to the war, and more than 1,800 people were arrested at rallies across the country.

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

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