A human chain for peace in Ukraine began forming this evening in Lisbon between Restelo and Belém Palace (the official residence of the president).
The purpose has been described as “appealing to Portuguese to show solidarity with the dramatic situation being experienced” by millions of Ukrainian citizens in their homeland.
The initiative is being promoted by the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal which is hoping President Marcelo may agree to meet with organisers at the end.
The chain started forming at the statue of Taras Schevchenko, a Ukrainian poet, which stands in the Praça de Itália next to the Ermida do Restelo.
Explains Pedro Dionísio, one of the organisers, Tara Schevchenko is a symbol of Ukrainian resistance – a characteristic the world today is witnessing in spades.
Hopes are that more and more people in Lisbon will join the human chain until it reaches Belém, with the message that solidarity can make all the difference.
Said Dionísio: “We cannot stand by and let a nation be martyrised… every day that passes makes resistance in Ukraine a little more difficult, for this reason we have to accelerate a global movement of protest”.
“Portugal counts relatively little here, but news today is increasingly global, therefore what we do in Portugal has an impact on other countries, and can also encourage citizens of other countries to do the same thing.
“If the world rises, this adds to pressure on the governments of different countries that are involved in finding a solution so that this situation doesn’t continue towards the complete destruction of Ukraine”.
Already the ‘no’ from Germany and Italy yesterday to banning Russia from the SWIFT banking system has changed. Germany has said yes. The sanction, if applied, will have the effect on the financial system of a nuclear attack (in the words of French President Macron). It will cause fall-out in other countries, but it will be particularly damaging for Russia.
And as the protest in Portugal wound its way towards Belem, similar protests had started in other parts of the world.
UPDATE: President Marcelo did meet organisers when the human chain protest reached Belém, assuring journalists that “everything legitimate that can be done” as a result of the invasion of Ukraine “will be done by the international community”.