Protesters have taken to the streets in Madrid to demonstrate their condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On February 24, protesters gathered outside of the Russian Embassy in Madrid, waving Ukrainian flags and holding signs with phrases, such as “Stop Putin”, “Paz” (Peace), and “Stop Russian Aggression”.
Some protesters were shouting, calling Vladimir Putin a “murderer”. Others equated the Russian president to terrorists and Adolf Hitler. The group joined together to sing the Ukrainian national anthem, with Ukrainians putting their hands over their hearts in solidarity. Some demonstrators were seen waving the Ukrainian Insurgent Army flag. Throughout the protest, Ukrainian songs were played to raise the spirits of the protesters. Many wore the colors of the Ukrainian flag, or painted the flag on their cheeks.
A large banner was held by the protesters who stood closest to the embassy, reading: “When the last Ukrainian soldier falls, Russia will come for the rest of Europe, for each one of you! The world is in danger!” The protest at the Russian Embassy was peaceful, with Madrid’s police forces ensuring it did not escalate.
Many demonstrators were Ukrainian, but people of various nationalities gathered to show their support for Ukraine and its citizens. Among them was Oscar-winning Spanish actor Javier Bardem, who explicitly expressed his condemnation of the “Russian Federation’s warlike actions against Ukraine” during an interview with Reuters.
An anonymous protester on the scene explained to the Stork that she “is extremely devastated by what is happening in [her] country” and that she “feel[s] like [she] does not have a voice and is without power to do something because [she is] in Madrid”. She also added that “the only thing [she] can do is show [her] support towards the Ukrainian community”. The protester concluded by saying she “want[s] this war to end today and forever”, that her “soul hurts so much”, and that she “insist[s] that the world takes action”.
The embassy closed at 7 p.m., yet protesters stayed after dark to continue their demonstrations.
On February 25, another protest was held in Puerta del Sol, beginning at 7:30 p.m. There, protesters expressed similar sentiments, holding signs that read “Peace & Freedom in Ukraine”, “Peace!”, and “No to the imperialist war in Ukraine” to name a few. In addition to the demonstrations, there was a moment of silence in Plaza de la Independencia at 8 p.m. to honor Ukraine.
Featured photo by Nicholas Kattar.