Police said 100,000 people attended the protest in the German capital, while organizers placed the number at half a million.
More than 100,000 people in Germany’s capital Berlin have attended a solidarity march to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, police said, with many protesters dressed in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag.
Police said large crowds filled the area originally planned for the demonstration on Sunday, and that they were allocating additional space to accommodate the protesters. Organizers of the march said half a million people had turned up.
Bearing posters like “No World War 3”, “Stop the killer”, or Berlin at 640 km [400 miles] from the front lines ”, the protesters massed at the Brandenburg Gate, a short distance from the Russian embassy.
“It is important to me for Germany to show that it is standing for democracy in Europe,” Hans Georg Kieler, 49, told AFP.
While praising Germany’s decision to begin delivering armaments, he said his country “could have helped Ukraine more”.
Ukrainian Valeria Moiseeva, 35, whose mother was sitting in a cellar in Kyiv in fear of bombs, said “I am personally disappointed by Russia, I hate Russia, I hate all Russians.”
Al Jazeera’s Dominic Kane, reporting from Berlin, said the high turn-out was a “clear representation of all those people who felt moved to come to this demonstration”.
“You have political parties, all expressing their condemnation of what President Putin and his government are doing in Ukraine,” Kane said. “There appears to be a determination to do something about it in any way Germany can.”
Demonstrations were held over the weekend across many European cities, including London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, Vienna, Madrid and Sofia.
Meanwhile, from Moscow to Siberia, Russian anti-war activists took to the streets again on Sunday despite the arrests of hundreds of protesters each day by police.
“I have two sons and I do not want to give them to that bloody monster. War is a tragedy for all of us, ”48-year-old Dmitry Maltsev, who joined the rally in St. Petersburg, told The Associated Press.
Russian police have cracked down on the rallies and detained protesters. The Kremlin has sought to downplay the protests, insisting that a much broader share of Russians support the assault on Ukraine.
In St. Petersburg, several hundred people gathered in the city center were met by police in full riot gear, who dragged a number of protesters into police vans.
Footage from Moscow showed police throwing several female protesters on the ground before dragging them away.
According to the OVD-Info rights group that tracks political arrests, by Sunday evening police detained at least 1,474 Russians in 45 cities over anti-war demonstrations that day.