Demonstrators march downtown to show support for Ukraine

From politicians to Ukrainians to friends of the Ukrainian community, Toronto was flooded with supporters today. Maleeha Sheikh shares their message and finds out how people can help as Russia's attack continues.

By Maleeha Sheikh

As the invasion of Russia into Ukraine rages on, here in Canada there are dozens of major cities taking part in rallies in support of Ukrainian people.

In Toronto, thousands of people marched through downtown on Sunday hoping that their support will give a boost to those overseas.

“At this very moment they are heroically fighting to defend not only their homeland but their right to freedom, democracy and self-determination,” a woman at the rally tells CityNews.

“You can’t do anything here, you can’t sleep, you can’t eat, you don’t know how you can help really, you’re on the phone all the time trying to figure out what’s going on, how are they, it’s crazy,” she said.

She is one of more than 1.4 million people who came from Ukraine to make a life for themselves, their current, and future families in Canada. She was also one of many who had their sons or daughters with them, hoping to show them just how strong the Ukrainian community is, no matter where they are and no matter what is happening.

Those who took to the streets were marching with pride, in a sea of yellow and blue, hoping their message is delivered loud and clear to both Russia and Ukraine.

At the front of the march were Mayor John Tory and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who has Ukrainian roots.

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“I think we are all as Ukrainian Canadians extremely proud of the courage and the resistance of the Ukraine people. They are standing for democracy, they are standing for us, they are doing a magnificent job and we are supporting them,” Freeland said.

Tory also speaking to the growing crowd on Sunday afternoon, “today Toronto is not just a sister city to Kyiv, it is Ukraine… Toronto is Kyiv. If we are all here together to say ‘no’ to this creeping atrocity into this illegal unlawful atrocious invasion.”

He adds, “people can contribute to the Red Cross on a humanitarian basis. People can support the wonderful efforts that the government of Canada has to admit people as refugees.”

Despite words of support, funds being raised, and countless efforts in many parts of Canada to support Ukraine and its people, many still feel frustrated.

“I have many friends from Ukraine and I want to support them and show them I am with them I am with peace I am against war,” one demonstrator told CityNews.

“We also fight in this information war because Russian propaganda is so strong and they’ve been sending lies all the time. I feel like I don’t know what else to do,” says another woman who recently moved from Ukraine.

The federal government is matching donations to the Red Cross’s relief efforts.

Across Canada, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress is urging the public to write to members of parliament asking them to increase Canadian support any way they can.

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