Anti-War protest in Derry today as Ukraine invasion reaches Kyiv
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The ‘No to War - Oppose Putin’s Invasion - Stop NATO expansion’ rally takes place today, Saturday, February 26 at 2pm at the Cenotaph in the Diamond.
It comes as Putin’s war on Ukraine reached the capital Kyiv.
Tens of thousands of ordinary people across the country are forming a citizens’ resistance to bolster the Ukranian forces as they try and defend their homeland. Among them are MPs and students.
Thousands more mainly children, mothers and elderly people have fled to the border seeking refuge in neighbouring countries of Moldova, Romania and Poland as the Russian army advances.
The Derry protest follows a rally at City Hall in Belfast last night.
Speaking about the invasion this week, Derry MP Colum Eastwood said: “The invasion of Ukraine is a violation of a sovereign European democracy and a tragedy for millions of people who have been plunged into a maelstrom of suffering and oppressive uncertainty. Parents in Kyiv and Kharkiv put their children to bed last night with hopeful promises that they would be safe. They have wakened this morning to the horror of Putin’s airstrikes and exchanges of gunfire. These are the people who will lose the most as the European continent stands on the precipice of a terrible conflict.
“What has happened in Ukraine demands the strongest possible response from the international community but particularly from our European partners. This is the greatest test of European Solidarity since the end of the second world war, but more than that, it is a test of our common humanity.”
Ahead of the protest today, Derry Anti War Coalition representative Davy McAuley said: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a threat to all of us. We urge people to join us on Saturday to oppose Putin’s military invasion.
“We want to send a message of solidarity to the people of Ukraine and urge Russia to withdraw its troops. War is not the solution and threatens the loss of life and tremendous destruction.”
Mr McAuley said the rally also wanted to “send a clear message to the British, US governments, the EU and NATO”.
“NATO’s expansion, supported by Britain, the US and the EU has propelled this conflict. NATO’s expansionist policy is a policy of war that is of no benefit to the vast majority of people.”
Mr McAuley also pointed to the carnage in Iraq and Afghanistans after countries in the west visited war on the people in those countries.
“They have cheered on Israeli aggression against Palestinians and Saudi terror in Yemen. They are in no position to take the moral high ground,” he said.
“We urge people to join protests in Derry, across Ireland and across the world to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine; to oppose Putin’s invasion; and to call for NATO’s policy of expansion to end.”