Protests at Russian Consulate
Protests were held early Sunday afternoon in front of the Russian Consulate as a response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which is fast approaching a year of violence in the region. A statement made from the group, Russians Against War, claimed that the purpose for today’s demonstration was to, “call for more sanctions against Russian oligarchs and other people affiliated with the Russian regime.” As stated in the name of the group, most of the individuals gathered at the Consulate were Russian people who oppose Russia’s military action in, as well as the occupation of Ukraine. While turnout was relatively small, organizers for the rally still arranged for speakers who fled Russian to escape persecution to address the assembly. The focal point of these speeches was the injustice of the necessity to flee their home country to avoid imprisonment-or worse-for either speaking out against the war in Ukraine or to escape forceable conscription.
This protest comes right as what is considered “Orthodox Christmas” is being celebrated by Russians and Ukrainians across the globe. The timing is not coincidental, as news has also swept the globe that Putin has already violated the ceasefire he declared for Orthodox Christmas. There have been reports from Ukraine that the proposed ceasefire was a scheme on the part of the Kremlin; during the supposed “ceasefire”, there were further reports that at least two people were killed and more were wounded when Russia bombed the city of Bakhmut. Russian protesters at this afternoon’s event responded to these acts of violence peacefully, holding signs declaring Putin a war criminal and calling for an end to the corruption in Russia. They stood in solidarity, some wearing the Ukrainian flag as a cape, and called for an end to the destruction of their Ukrainian neighbors.
Photos by Bruce Cotler
Story by Emily Cotler