Members of the local Ukrainian community joined anti-war Russians to protest the one year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at a rally in Martin Place on February 24. The protest was organised by local Russian human rights group Svoboda Alliance.
It was part of a series of actions co-ordinated by Russians around the world under the banner “Victory for Ukraine! Freedom for Russia! Year of Terror — Global action against Russian military aggression and in memory of the victims of Putin’s terror in Ukraine”. Similar protests are set to take place in Brisbane and Perth on February 25.
Various speakers called for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops, the release of all anti-war political prisoners in Russia, the restoration of Ukraine’s 1991 borders and for the Australian government to continue arming Ukraine, extend its sanctions on Putin’s allies and expel Russian diplomats.
Among the speakers was a Ukrainian refugee who was forced to flee from Bucha, the site of war crimes committed by Russian troops early on in the war.
The Ukrainian Council of NSW organised a rally — “365 Days Strong” — the previous day in which Ukrainians and their supporters marched from Martin Place to St Mary’s Cathedral, for a vigil.
Together with the City of Sydney, the Ukrainian Council of NSW also organised a performance night and fundraiser for Ukraine, “Ukraine Undefeated: A Year of Full Scale War”, the following day.
The Ukrainian community in Adelaide held a similar protest outside parliament on February 23, with protests and vigils also set to be held in Melbourne and Canberra on February 24 and Brisbane and Perth on February 25.