Hundreds Of Thousand Take To Streets In Germany To Protest Putin

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This past Monday in Cologne, Germany, around 250,000 people turned out for a rally against Russia’s Vladimir Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine — and that’s not even the only recent anti-Putin gathering to feature a staggering number of participants along those lines, although it’s perhaps the largest. In Berlin, some 100,000 people turned out on Sunday to tout opposition to the unfolding attack on Ukraine, which has claimed the lives of civilians and military personnel alike. The Cologne event fell on the date of the traditional Rosenmontag, or Rose Monday, celebration, which has been characterized as on par with Mardi Gras.

As summarized by France24, the “traditional carnival street festival had been called off this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. But organisers decided instead to hold a peace march on Monday in solidarity with Ukraine.” The figure of a quarter of a million participants apparently came from local police; German Ambassador to India Walter J. Lindner cited a figure of over 200,000 participants in the event, but France24 specified that the higher figure was drawn from a “peak” of the gathering. Journalist Thomas Sparrow said that the protest in Cologne was “described as the largest peace demonstration in the city’s history.” Hendrik Wüst, who serves as state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, was present for the Cologne demonstration and wrote on Twitter, per a translation, that the “people of Cologne would have liked to celebrate Shrove Monday again after 2 years of the pandemic. Instead they show solidarity & stand up for peace in the #Ukraine. A strong sign.”

Other anti-war protests have taken place even inside Russia, although spontaneous mass demonstrations are illegal in the country and punishable by fines and jail-time. Thousands of protesting Russians have been arrested, but demonstrations have continued. Protests against the conflict have also been seen in Belarus, whose authoritarian leader is allied with Putin and has allowed the usage of Belarusian territory for launching attacks on Ukraine. In Belarus, there have also been arrests connected to these demonstrations. And the protests go on from there: public shows of opposition to Putin’s aggression targeting Ukraine have also been recorded in the United States, the European nation of Georgia, Iran, Switzerland, Austria, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. Governments around the world have swiftly acted to isolate the Russian economy; with sharp restrictions suddenly placed on access by Russia’s central bank to their hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign currency reserves. The value of Russian currency has plummeted amid the crisis — although there’s been no substantial let-up in the ongoing Russian assault on Ukraine, which has displaced some 677,000 Ukrainians. See images of the Cologne demonstration against the war below:

Featured Image (edited) from Wikimedia Commons, available under a Creative Commons License