Europeans, Pope Denounce War

Francis calls Russia's killing of civilians, including children, 'barbarianism'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 13, 2022 12:05 PM CDT
Europeans, Pope Denounce War
A crowd rallies against the war in Ukraine on Sunday in Berlin.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Tens of thousands of people rallied Sunday in cities across Europe to protest Russia's war in Ukraine, with small vigils taking place in Russia as well despite a crackdown by authorities against such demonstrations. German trade unions called a protest in Berlin, the AP reports. The march led from the city's Alexanderplatz—a large square named after Russian Czar Alexander I—to a site near the Brandenburg Gate. Many participants carried flags in the blue and yellow colors of Ukraine, while others bore banners reading "Stop the War" and "Peace and Solidarity for the people in Ukraine."

Norbert Herring, whose sign read "What are you doing to your neighbor?" said outside the Russian Embassy that the images from Ukraine remind him of the bombing of cities during World War II. Several protesters in Berlin said they were Russians ashamed about what their country was doing. "We're against this war so we wanted to show our solidarity," said Aleksandra Belozerova, a Russian studying in Germany. Her friend, Aliia Biktagirova, held a sign with letters for the Russian phrase for "No War" represented as asterisks to reflect the censorship she said is taking place in Russia concerning the conflict. Protests were also staged in Warsaw, London, and the German cities of Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Stuttgart, as well as in Cyprus and Taiwan.

In Rome, Pope Francis decried the "barbarianism" of the killing of children and other defenseless civilians in Ukraine. He told a crowd estimated by the Vatican at 25,000 people in St. Peter's Square for his customary Sunday noon appearance that the attacks must stop "before cities are reduced to cemeteries." In Russia, rights group OVD-Info said more than 668 people had been detained at protests in 36 cities as of late afternoon Moscow time. There was a heavy police presence at central locations including Manezh Square near the Kremlin, with officers carrying demonstrators to police vans in footage posted by Russian media. The number of protesters nationwide appeared to be far fewer than at the last major protests a week ago. (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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