On the fourth day of the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two, Tens of thousands of people across Europe marched in protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Sunday.
More than 100,000 people gath On red in central Berlin, carrying signs reading: “Stop the War,” “Putin’s last war” and “We stand with Ukraine” along with Ukrainian and European Union flags.
Train and underground service was interrupted in some parts of the German capital as thousands flooded toward the Brandenburg Gate, near the Russian embassy.
The protest came as missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities and thousands of Ukrainian civilians, mainly women and children, were fleeing from the Russian assault into neighboring countries.
“Ukrainians: You’re welcome here!” shouted one of the speakers in Berlin as the crowd cheered.
More than 368,000 refugees, mainly women and children, have fled the fighting into neighboring countries, the UN refugee agency said on Sunday, citing data provided by national authorities.
Around 80,000 protesters thronged Prague’s central square, with the Czech prime minister telling the crowd the country still remembered its own terror of Russian tanks rolling into the capital more than five decades ago.
“Of course I had to come here today, because one must stand up to evil,” pensioner Jindrich Synek told Reuters. “I have experienced it in this square a couple of times already.”
Wenceslas Square was home to demonstrations during the 1989 Velvet Revolution that ended decades of Soviet-backed communist rule, as well as protests in 1968 when Soviet-led troops invaded communist Czechoslovakia to end reforms that upset Moscow.
In central Madrid, thousands of protesters waved Ukrainian flags. They held signs reading “Peace,” “Stop Putin,” and “Putin, you should be scared: my grandmother is really angry.”
“We want our country to be independent. We want to be in Europe. We want Putin to leave us alone, to leave our homes and not bomb our land, our parents and relatives in Ukraine,” said Vira Panas, 34, a Ukrainian woman living in Madrid.
In Denmark, roughly 400 demonstrators gathered in front of the Ukrainian embassy in central Copenhagen where many participants lit candles and laid flowers to show their support for the Ukrainian people.
“My own city is being bombed with cruise missiles in the 21st century. That makes no sense,” said Artem, a 40-year-old software developer from Kyiv who lives in Denmark with his family.
“We need to show that people care and this is why we need as many people as possible. We can’t stop the missiles with demonstrations but we can show that we are all supporting the truth,” he added.
Similar protests took place in Rome, Lisbon and London.
In Russia itself, people took to the streets to voice their opposition to war. Police detained more than 1,700 people at anti-war protests that occurred in 46 Russian cities on Sunday.
That raised the total detainees since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 to around 5,500, independent protest monitoring group OVD-Info said.