Sheffield protest calls for end to war in Ukraine and no more NATO expansion
and live on Freeview channel 276
Campaigners gathered for the Stop The War Coalition rally, which saw scores of people gather in front of Sheffield Town Hall.
A petition was circulated calling for the war to end.
Unlike last Sunday’s protest, there were few Ukraine flags at the site, although organisers said they had invited the city’s Ukrainian community.
DIck Pitt, of Sheffield Stop the War Alliance, opening the rally, said it was a demonstration of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, a demand for Russian troops to leave Ukraine, and a way of saying ‘no’ to NATO expansion.
He said: “What is happening is such a catastrophe, and those of us still with links with our twin city of Donetsk, it’s really mind numbing and very depressing.
"There are those who are saying that because Putin is so evil, so irrational, we have to tool up. The process by which every country says we're under pressure, we must get re-arming, is going to be very strong.
"We in the Stop The War coalition are against that. The human species faces two major threats. One is the ecology, that we’re wrecking the climate, and the other is the threat of nuclear war.
He said it was important to oppose war mongers.
Protest on Sheffield Town Hall steps
Martin Mayer, from Sheffield Trade Union Council told the rally that people needed to be talking peace and do more to welcome refugees.
He said he was appalled by the pictures seen of the war.
He said deaths of civilians should upset us all, adding: "We say to Putin get your troops out of there now."
But he said it was a complex situation and a factor was NATO’s encroachment towards Russian borders adding he could understand the Russian concerns over new countries joining close it borders.
He said: "Lets stop Russia, but let's stop all war. Stop the war,”
He said the current situation reminded him of the Cuban missile crisis when Kennedy threatened war unless the USSR removed missiles from Cuba, He said fortunately, they were removed.
But he said we have to understand Russian security interests if we were to achieve stability in the world.
"I believe there is a negotiated solution where Ukraine remains as an independent neutral country, and that’s what we should aim to do," he said.
"I want to make it clear – while we absolutely 100 per cent condemn the shocking military assault on Ukraine, we don’t choose what wars we support, or which ones we condemn. We were here back in 2003 when our country joined America to assault Iraq – we’re against illegal wars whoever they are committed by, including our own country – we are consistent.”
He said he was concerned about the bombardment on cities like Mariupol and added: “What the hell does Russia want? To control dead cities with no people in them? This is senseless bombardment and senseless brutality and we stand with the Ukrainian people opposing that.”