Almost a thousand people gathered on Boulevard du Régent (Regentlaan) on Thursday night in Brussels to protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to a count by the police zone Brussels Capital Ixelles.
Protesters converged at the Permanent Representation of Russia to the EU, Bruzz reports, chanting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a terrorist.
Earlier in the day, Russia’s ambassador was called to the stand by the EU, whereupon they warned of ‘counter steps’ in response to European sanctions.
Citizens gathered outside to express anger. Police counted at least 500 people around 18:30, a crowd so large that cyclists could no longer access the cycling lanes.
Ukrainians in Brussels fear for family
“What is happening in my country is terrible. All attention should go to this, because we can use all the help we can get,” Igor, a Ukrainian who lives in Brussels, told Bruzz.
He said he wasn’t surprised by the invasion, and that “it was bound to happen one day. We are now working day and night on the war, because we all have relatives there.”
As EU leaders meet in Brussels, Ukrainians and supporters gather to demand action to counter Russia’s invasion. #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/m5HsFAsn80— Jack Parrock (@jackeparrock) February 24, 2022
His girlfriend showed a photo on her mobile phone of a missile that landed on a field.
“That was an hour ago, one kilometre from the house of my parents who live not far from Kyiv. Everyone is worried. I try to be in touch with them every half hour,” Igor explained.
Protestors call for more sanctions
A protester with a megaphone demanded “all possible sanctions,” saying that “Putin must be hit in his wallet.”
📺 Right in front of the @USAmbBelgium in #Brussels a manifestation is now starting. Many people still arriving. Lot’s #Ukraine flags. 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/5atrN3j27t— Dimitri Strobbe 🚧 (@dimitristrobbe) February 24, 2022
They also said that weapons should be sent to the Ukrainians in order to help them defend their country.
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The crowd was diverse, including Belgians, Georgians, Belarusians, Poles and Russians. “I am Russian, but do not support the president at all. He has lost the North, he has gone mad,” said one woman.
“Many Russians around me think the same about him. We are worried about the lives of Ukrainians, but also about those of Russians.”