REPORT – As Russia resumed its offensive against the port city of Mariupol in southwestern Ukraine on Saturday afternoon, tens of thousands of protesters marched across France.
Despite fierce Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion, it is clear that the sharp jaws of the bear are closing more and more over the country of 44 million every day. This Saturday was particularly marked by the resumption of the offensive in Mariupol after a short-term truce was negotiated to allow the evacuation of civilians.
2,500 kilometers away, in France, at least 44,000 demonstrators gathered all day in several major cities to express their support for the Ukrainians, many of whom have been living in torment for 10 days now. According to the police department, 16,000 people gathered at the Place de la République in Paris alone. Countless yellow and blue flags flutter in the air or cover the backs of demonstrators. The anthem of Ukraine sounded several times and slogans in favor of cessation of hostilities or condemnation of the position of Russian President Vladimir Putin were loudly repeated. “Putin’s killer”, “Solidarity with Ukraine”, we heard. Messages were chanted in French, Ukrainian, and also in Russian.
Say “shit” Vladimir Putin
The three nationalities melted into the crowd, forming nothing more than a gigantic two-colored stream of people slowly advancing towards Place de la Bastille, a few hundred meters further. There were many children, students and elderly people present, some on crutches or even in wheelchairs. This is the case of Benedict, 84, who came with her husband Dan to say:shit” to “dictator putin“. “This time it’s scary, I want to cry. I knew the war, I still remember the sirens in Paris and the hours of waiting in the cellars. The dark hours we thought were gone forever. To see it start again it’s awfulDan says in a trembling voice.
It is cynical to say that we want to save lives without intervening and establishing a no-fly zone. We cannot allow the Russians to continue bombing civilians unhindered without taking any action.
Alexei, a 43-year-old French-Russian who came to the demonstration with his son in Paris.
“We tend to say that this man is crazy, but that’s not true, Putin is not crazy. And it’s even worse! Because he is very smart and ready to do anything to achieve his goals. He manipulates us all and puffs out his chest, making the planet think that he is the most powerful and crazy. And it works. Nobody dares to interfere‘, for his part, annoys Alexa, 43, a Franco-Russian who came to the Paris demonstration with his son. Above his head, the forty-year-old holds a sign “No-fly zone”, in connection with the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to NATO to prevent Russian aircraft from flying over his country. “It is cynical to say that we want to save lives without intervening and establishing a no-fly zone. We cannot allow the Russians to continue bombing civilians unhindered without taking any action.“, he claims.
“The freedom of the Ukrainian people is ours»
A demonstrator of Ukrainian origin sitting on a small platform wants to remind that the enemy is not Russia, but its president. “I did not believe in democracy in my country, I left it for France. But a week ago I wanted to find him in order to restore him, with all Ukrainian patriots. Today the war is not between Russia and Ukraine, but between the tyrant and the civilized world, democracy, freedom.she proclaims, urging Russians to rise up against Vladimir Putin.
The first demonstrators arrived at Place de la Bastille shortly before 17:00. A very symbolic place, according to one of the protesters, “Revolution and Newfound Freedom”. Some of them, as well as politicians, spoke from the tribune set up for the occasion, including the Mayor (PS) of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who marked the demonstration with her presence, leading the procession along with the First Secretary of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure, Mayor (LR) 7 arrondissement of Paris Rashida Dati or the philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy.
Asks the LCI, the city councilman, who says to himself: “representative of the republican and European left“, ensures that “The freedom of the Ukrainian people belongs to us. What is happening in Ukraine is also freedom for us Europeans.” And add that heIt is very important that political leaders come forward and express their support for the Ukrainian people.“Anne Hidalgo also pointed out the importance of accepting political refugees”,what we are already doing here in Paris“.
Also present at the Paris march, former Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Twitter that “nothing should be missed.” And in continuation:There must be more and more of us to demonstrate our solidarity with the Ukrainian people and our total condemnation of Putin’s unacceptable aggression.“.
” See also – Ukraine: In Paris, several thousand people demonstrated against the war