Hundreds gather in Halifax to show solidarity with Ukrainian people
Peaceful crowd waves Ukrainian national colours and called for end to war
Hundreds gathered at Grand Parade in downtown Halifax on Saturday afternoon to protest the Russian invasion of Ukraine and to call for a stop to the war.
The planned gathering started with relatively few people, but the crowd grew quickly.
Some people carried Ukrainian flags while others carried banners and umbrellas in the Ukrainian national colours of yellow and blue.
The Ukrainian flag was already flying on the flagpole at Grand Parade
There were also large pieces of yellow and blue cloth stretched around the crowd like a ribbon.
Many carried placards bearing messages such as "Stop Putin! Stop the war!" and "Stand with Ukraine."
A tearful Nadia Timoshenko, who lives in HRM, said her ancestors were from Ukraine and she grew up in Toronto immersed in Ukrainian culture.
She still has distant relatives there and doesn't know what is happening to them.
According to Timoshenko, the events in Ukraine in recent days have hit her hard because of her deep connections to the country and culture.
I think it's important for Ukrainians and all humans to come together and stand against this," Timoshenko said.
"This shouldn't happen in Ukraine or anywhere in the world."
She said it was heartwarming to see the outpouring of support at Grand Parade.
Jane MacKay of Dartmouth attended the rally. She said the problems in Ukraine put Canada's recent problems into context.
"I think following what has gone on here in the last month, people need to recognize that our problems are small… so far," she said. "But they're all going to get worse if we don't stand up to this kind of thing."
The people gathered in Halifax heard speeches condemning the Russian invasion and applauding the bravery of the Ukrainian people and armed forces.
Speakers also referred to reports from the Ukrainian government about the bravery of personnel on Snake Island who refused to surrender to the crew of a Russian warship.
The people gathered also sang both the Canadian and Ukrainian national anthems.
Earlier on Saturday, the premier's office issued a news release saying Nova Scotia stood in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and said Province House will be flying the Ukrainian flag in support.
The province is donating $100,000 to the local chapter of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation in order to provide humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian people, the release said.
"Nova Scotians were shocked and horrified by Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine, which endangers the lives of people and flies in the face of international law," said Premier Tim Houston.
According to the release, Nova Scotia will also be working with Ottawa to expedite immigration applications for Ukrainians wishing to move to the province.
The release said there are more than 9,000 people of Ukrainian heritage living in Nova Scotia.
- This story was updated after publication to include new information regarding the events on Snake Island.Feb 28, 2022 2:54 PM AT