Protests against war in Europe and small rallies in Russia

Tens of thousands protested in Europe Sunday against the ongoing war in Ukraine . However, small rallies took place in Russia despite an official ban.

Protests against war in Europe and small rallies in Russia

German trade unions called for a protest in Berlin. Sunny weather helped to boost the turnout. The march started at Alexanderplatz, a large square named for Russian Tsar Alexander I. It ended near the Brandenburg Gate.

Participants carried flags in blue and yellow Ukrainian colors, while others carried banners that read "Stop War" and "Peace and Solidarity For the People of Ukraine."

Norbert Herring held up a sign reading "What are you doing for your neighbor?" as crowds gathered past the Russian Embassy. He said that the images from Ukraine reminded of the bombing of Ukrainian cities in World War II.

Many protesters in Berlin said that they felt ashamed of Russia's actions.

Aleksandra Belozerova, an American student in Germany, stated that "we're against the war so we wanted our solidarity." "It's all we can do in this circumstance."

Aliia Biktagirova was her friend and held a sign that had letters for the Russian phrase "No War", with asterisks representing the censorship in Russia regarding the conflict.

Rights group OVD Info reported that more than 668 people were detained in 36 Russian cities by late afternoon Moscow time. This is in contrast to Russia where protests against the war in Ukraine are often met with a heavy police response.

In footage uploaded by Russian media, there was a strong police presence at central places, including Manezhnaya Square, near the Kremlin. Officers carried demonstrators to waiting police vans. National protestors appeared to be much smaller than those who protested last week, when OVD-Info had more than 5,000 detained.

In Warsaw, London, and in the German cities Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Stuttgart, anti-war demonstrations were also held.

A small, far-right party organized a demonstration in Belgrade, Serbia's capital to support Russia's invasion Ukraine.

Numerous car occupants waved Russian and Serbian flags and honked their horns to support Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some cars were painted with "Z" -- this letter is used in Russian armored vehicles in Ukraine, and is now a symbol for support for Russian troops.

Serbia, despite having applied for membership to the European Union, has refused to accept international sanctions against Russia. Despite voting in favor U.N. resolution condemning Moscow’s aggression. Serbia's state-controlled media regularly publishes pro-Russian reports on the war.

After rallies in Florence, Naples and Rome, Italians and Ukrainians living in Italy protested against the war in Ukraine on Sunday.

Protesters in Milan, Italy's financial center, held bundles of bloody cloth to symbolize the victims of Russian aggressions on Ukrainians. Children held drawings and marchers splattered their cheeks with the colors of Ukraine's flag.

Protesters held a huge, rainbow-colored peace flag on a Milan square before the march.

One of the marchers held a sign made from cardboard that said "Close the Sky" in Rome. This was a reference to Ukraine's request to NATO to create a no fly zone over Ukraine to protect it against Russian warplanes. Like other NATO allies, the Italian government has ruled out the possibility of a no fly zone. They believe that such a move could lead to a widening conflict in Europe.

Pope Francis condemned the "barbararianism" that has led to the murder of children in Ukraine. According to the Vatican, he told the 25,000-strong crowd gathered at St. Peter's Square to see him on Sunday noon that the attacks must cease "before cities are reduced into cemeteries."

Many Russian nationals joined Ukrainians at Limassol, a coastal resort town in Cyprus, to protest the war in Ukraine. Around 50 Russians joined other protesters on Limassol’s promenade to chant slogans like "Stop war, stop Putin" before waving blue and green flags. They said the Russian flag without the red stripe represented "bloody violence".

Evgeniya Slykova, a protester who has lived and worked in Cyprus for five-years, stated to The Associated Press, that despite Russian propaganda Ukraine "didn’t deserve this action by our government" and that protesters are demanding an immediate end of the war "that is not supported."

Shlykova said that Putin and his supporters were responsible for making Russia weaker and less united. She also blamed them for bringing world's fury on Russia, which is proud of its humanistic culture and values. "But now Russia has become the aggressor of the entire world. We protest this."

On Sunday, supporters and Ukrainian nationals in Taiwan staged a protest march in Taipei against the Russian invasion.