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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Thousands marched against Putin

Norwegians turned out by the thousands in Oslo and elsewhere around the country on Friday, in a massive show of support for Ukraine. They were also marching against Russian President Vladimir Putin, who’d ordered his invasion of Ukraine a year earlier.

Hundreds had already gathered in front of Norway’s Parliament (which had raised its own flag for Ukraine earlier in the day) well before events began in Oslo Friday afternoon. Similar demonstrations were mounted in Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger and nearly 100 other locations around the country, well-attended by many of the nearly 40,000 Ukrainian refugees now living in Norway.

Many demonstrators were draped in Ukrainian flags, which also flew all over the city on Friday. The colours of the flag, meant to symbolize blue skies over Ukrainian grain fields, were also displayed on various buildings as darkness began to fall.

That’s when the crowds gathered in front of the Norwegian Parliament in downtown Oslo also were treated to a surprise performance by the electronica duo Tvorchi (Creative) that won Ukraine’s own preliminary to the upcoming European Song Contest. Tvorchi members Andrii Viktorovych Hutsuliak and Jimoh Augustus Kehinde performed their winning song “Heart of steel,” which was inspired by the lengthy siege of the Azovstal steel plant during an early stage of the war.

After the rally outside Parliament, which featured appeals by top politicians from both the left and right, the crowd marched along Oslo’s main boulevard led by Mayor Marianne Borgen …

… passing the offices of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, which were among those decked out in the colours of the Ukrainian flag. The statue silhouetted in the foreground is that of King Haakon VII, Norway’s first modern monarch after the country won its own independence as a sovereign nation in 1905.

Demonstrators marched by the Ukrainian Embassy before gathering outside the Nobel Peace Center at the City Hall Plaza, with the new National Museum in the background. It also sported a Ukrainian flag. “We had thought peace was the new normal in Europe,” editorialized newspaper Dagsavisen on Friday, warning that Putin’s war proves peace can’t be taken for granted. Ukrainians who helped mount Friday’s demonstrations have expressed gratitude for all the support: “We think Norway is a country where people are among the most enthusiastic and turn out when support is needed,” Natalia Ravn-Christensen of Den Ukrainske Forening i Norge (The Ukrainian Association in Norway) told Dagsavisen. “We think Norway has a culture for people engaging themselves in issues, and with mayors willing to help. We are certain Ukraine will win, but how long it will take depends on the international support.”


TEXT: Berglund



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