Hundreds of Norwich residents attended a protest against the war in Ukraine outside City Hall on Sunday 27 February.
After Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, many people living in Norwich are fearing for the welfare of their friends and family.
Concrete spoke to Natalia who organised the Norwich protest. She said: “I’m Ukrainian. I live here in Norwich, but most of my family are in Ukraine. My 72-year-old mother is hiding in a basement in an area of Russian occupation. She is without electricity and food. My daughter is a 22-year-old student, she is also there. My brother is in Kyiv which is being bombed heavily.”
In response to being asked what impact she hopes to make by holding the protest, Natalia said: “One of the worst things is that when you’re here [in Norwich] you’re safe and you can see the sun shining, but I’m thinking of my family who are being bombed and could be attacked at any moment. You feel useless, you want to find a way to help.”
As for a final, lasting message she wants people to take away from the protest, she said: “This protest is my way to tell the world that we’re against the war, we’re against Russian aggression. Ukraine is a peaceful nation and we don’t deserve to have this horror in our lives. I want to tell the world that we need help to stop this war, to stop Putin.”
Chants of “Norwich stands with Ukraine”, “stop Putin”, “stop the war”, and “Putin go home” were heard throughout the protest. One woman also moved throughout the crowd distributing heart-shaped biscuits decorated with the Ukrainian flag.
One young girl held a sign which read: “I am five years old. I know the difference between good and bad. Putin is 69 and he is a very bad man.”
Several members of the crowd sang the Ukrainian national anthem while waving the familiar yellow and blue flag which represents their nation. Emotions are high as a number of those in attendance are worried for the safety of their loved ones in Ukraine, many of whom are fearing for their lives.