A few hundred demonstrators in support of Ukraine took to downtown streets this afternoon to demand the western world take more action against Russia.
From Guy to Union, groups of protestors stood on each busy corner of St. Catherine street waving flags and holding signs to get the attention of Sunday shoppers.
“We need the help of the western world to just stop watching,” says Michael Shwec, the president of the Quebec Ukranian Canadian Congress.
“The west has done a lot up until now in terms of helping arm (Ukraine) but more is needed.”
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Shwec would like to see immediate action. “The western world needs to help and create the no-fly zone right now.”
Many of the demonstrators taking part in Sunday’s protest have family in Ukraine. Some have been lucky enough to get family to safety. Oleg Smolovyk brought his mother to Canada.
“It took six days to take from Kiev to Montreal and she’s very tired. She’s 75 years old so it was very difficult travel for her,” says Smolovyk.
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Others families haven’t been so lucky.
“They don’t think they will be able to tolerate it, to stand it physically and mentally,” says Katrina Kuchuk. “They are staying with my sister in Kiev. At least I know they are all together,” she adds.
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In many cases they are grateful just to be able to keep in contact with loved ones.
“They are at risk every moment. For now, they are all alive and we keep praying they will stay alive,” says Iryna Khomenko who stood on Drummond and St. Catherine with her husband and young son.
Saturday’s demonstration highlighted the importance of enacting a no-fly zone over Ukraine but are hoping more Canadians understand what is at stake.
“Ukraine is fighting for the fate of Europe and freedom and democracy around the world,” says Russian-born Ievgeniia Viatchaninova.
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Crowds have been gathering downtown every weekend for several weeks to show their support for Ukraine in the midst of Russia’s invasion.
Demonstrators on Sunday ended their protest on union and Ste. Catherine with a Ukrainian prayer.