Millions of people across the world have been united over the past week in opposition to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Protests have sprung up around the world, with thousands in Russia also bravely taking to the streets in support of Ukraine.
On Wednesday (March 2), thousands of people in Bristol of all nationalities and backgrounds took to the city’s streets to show support for Ukrainians confronting the invasion of their country. Speeches were made and the group marched throughout the centre in the Bristol tradition.
Amongst those protesters this evening was a man who found his own way of communicating his disgust at what Vladimir Putin is doing – he burned his Russian passport.
The protest started on College Green at 5.30pm and thousands came out dressed in the colours of the Ukrainian flag, held protest signs, and chanted along with the crowd. Speeches were given at the rally and chants rang out outside City Hall as the crowd swelled.
Protesters then marched on the pavement down to Broad Quay and in the direction of Broadmead. They did a loop round to Castle Park before then returning to College Green for the end of the protest.
As chants were underway on College Green following the march, a man dressed in the colours of the Ukrainian flag took out his Russian passport. He held a lighter to the bottom of it and watched as it went up in flames.
The coat of arms of the Russian Federation is clearly visible as he holds a lighter to the pages and sets them to burn. In a bold act of defiance, holds the document as it goes up in flames in the space of just a minute.
The man was clearly speaking Russian, and onlookers were initially stunned as they watched the passport burn before breaking into a round of applause. The ashes of the passport were left on the ground in front of his protest sign that read: “Arm Ukraine”.
The astounding act of solidarity with Ukraine happened at the end of a march that saw thousands take to the streets in the biggest protest Bristol has seen so far in opposition to the invasion.
At the rally on College Green, a Ukrainian woman gave a heart-wrenching speech calling for NATO to provide “all military support that is possible” to Ukraine. She said that Putin does not want her country to exist, calling his military action “the genocide of the nation”.
She also called loudly for NATO to “close the sky” and enforce a no-fly zone over the country to stop the Russian bombardment of Ukrainian cities. She said that peace talks could resume under that scenario, adding: “Ukraine has always and will always want peace”.
Carla Denyer, Co-Leader of the Green Party and the councillor for Clifton Down, also spoke to the gathered crowd in support of the Ukrainian people, expressing her party’s solidarity. She also called for Priti Patel to ensure that the UK was accepting any refugees in need of help from the UK.
The protest drew to a close at around 7pm, although it is sure to not be the last one Bristol sees in support of Ukraine that remains under attack tonight.
For the latest updates on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the international response, CLICK HERE