The drive called “Enough of wars – we want peace!” was organised by the Centre for Peace Studies (CMS) to enable everyone to share messages of peace, encouragement, empathy and solidarity with the people of Ukraine who has been attacked and dragged into a war, as well as with the protesters in Russia and around the world against regimes which create wars and violence, said Sandra Kasunić of CMS.
She said the turnout at Zrinjevac was a sign of unity in condemning war and destruction and their deep and long-lasting consequences.
The position of the CMS is that Croatia must make every effort, through diplomacy and the policy of dialogue, to prevent the violence from escalating further, guided by the principle of protecting people’s lives and resolving the Ukraine conflict peacefully, Kasunić said.
If necessary, she added, the CMS will organise more drives “to continue to channel” anti-war messages.
Among those at Zrinjevac were representatives of the Green-Left Bloc, whose MP Sandra Benčić said that they wanted to show solidarity with the citizens of Ukraine and express readiness to receive refugees.
“The most important thing at the moment is that the international community ensure corridors for civilians, to pull them out of war zones and accommodate them in European Union countries, including Croatia,” she said.
That’s why the We Can! party, by supporting parliament’s Declaration on Ukraine yesterday, moved an amendment under which Croatia will extend concrete help by receiving and accommodating refugees, Benčić added.
“The City of Zagreb has already taken measures and defined potential accommodation capacities, which will expand depending on the needs, just as the City of Bjelovar has done,” she said, adding that Croatia is acting responsibility and with solidarity.
Benčić said she hoped the situation in Ukraine would not spill over to the wider region or become a global war, adding that one must keep that in mind and prevent it through diplomacy and sanctions against Russia.
She said the sanctions “should be much tougher and more direct so that they really force Putin to sit at the negotiating table.” She said the extent of the war was not evident yet and that “we all hope this ends as soon as possible. We appeal to absolutely every international actor to create pressure… so that negotiations begin.”
Participants in the rally carried messages which said “Stop the war, life has no price”, “Let’s unite against war”, “Down with imperialism” and “No to war”.
They were joined by Ukrainian citizens living in Zagreb who were draped in the Ukrainian flag, as well as representatives of the Croatian-Ukrainian Society.
The Ukrainians told the press they were sad and concerned about their relatives and friends in Ukraine, and thanked Croatia for the support shown so far with the message “The Ukrainian people does not surrender.”
Ukrainians in Split protest against war
In Split, dozens of Ukrainians today protested against the war in Ukraine and called on everyone in Croatia to help their compatriots in the most difficult moments of their lives.
Some of those Ukrainians have been living in Split for a while, while several arrived just before Russia invaded their country.
This, the second protest in Split since the war in Ukraine began was again organised by the CVIT Association for Ukrainian Culture in Dalmatia.
The protesters carried the Ukrainian flag and banners calling for the war to stop. They said they would do everything to help Ukraine.
Viktorija Balan of CVIT said more Ukrainians were expected in Split in the days ahead, asking everyone who could receive them to do so.