SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Protesters have gathered in Sunny Isles Beach in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
Dozens of people came together on Friday to call for peace as a second day of chaos in Ukraine came to a close.
“I am here to support my family and my country,” said protester Iryna Gerbutova. “My brother today spent half of the day in a bombing shelter.”
“There’s a lot of kids in Ukraine that are sitting in houses and are scared cause they hear bombs and shots,” said a young protester.
The world woke up Thursday morning to the news and watched how Russian troops made their way across the border, a terrifying sight to many local Ukrainians who still have many family and friends in their home country.
“It’s a terrible situation for all of us,” said Gerbutova.
Organizer Karina Moiseeva said they are urging U.S. and European officials to take action to help those affected by the conflict.
“Today is the second day when our people of Ukraine dying, the sons of their mothers dying, so we are asking for the second day for America, for Europe, to do something to help to protect as was told in 1994, that they are going to protect Ukraine,” she said. “They promised us, and they can’t keep the promise. That is what the protest is all about. We only ask to keep our country independent and keep our families and our people safe today.”
The community has shown considerable support and plan on showcasing more events.
“It was organized very quickly, from five people in a chat, and today we have over 600 protesters,” said organizer Ilona Nesterova. “Yesterday in Hallandale, so many people showed up. Somebody was printing posters, somebody was bringing drinks, water, snacks, everything. So many people showed up, and it’s not the last event. Today we are here in Sunny Isles Beach, and everybody showed up.”
Nesterova also expressed how important it is to support Ukraine, as it is a very difficult time for those living through the chaos and those watching their home country suffer.
“We cannot win this war without you guys. We need you to pull your triggers as well. We need your support and help,” said Nesterova.
She also expressed how Ukrainians are experiencing moments that should be joyful in devastating circumstances.
“Tonight in the subway, a little baby was born. In normal circumstances, they would have been born in a hospital, but tonight someone had it on the floor,” said Nesterova.
As the death and destruction continues overseas, even some local Russians are protesting and hoping the attacks end soon.
“I am ashamed, extremely ashamed of the president of Russia, which is my birth country,” said Ekaterina Vasilchenoko. “Every hour, every day is a new life that we are losing.”
Saturday there is another protest, scheduled between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., at Young Circle in Hollywood.
There is also a gathering planned for Sunday morning at a Ukrainian church in the morning and another in the afternoon in Boca Raton.
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