A 12 months on, dogged protesters hold the flag flying
WHEN Russia invaded Ukraine a 12 months in the past, Marusya Jacyshyn determined she wanted to do one thing to point out her assist for Ukraine.
“A buddy of mine requested if I knew there was to be a gathering exterior the Division of International Affairs,” says Marusya, 75.
“I hadn’t heard, however I made a decision I used to be going. That was on the twenty fifth of February.”
The next Sunday, Marusya – of Ukrainian heritage – travelled to Kingston from her Queanbeyan residence to affix a rising group, to face exterior the Russian embassy on Canberra Avenue in protest, and so they have continued ever since.
“There’s all the time one particular person, at the very least one particular person, standing there with a Ukrainian flag,” she says.
On February 24, the Ukrainian group and supporters will maintain a vigil from 10am-5pm in entrance of the Russian embassy to mark the primary anniversary of Russia’s invasion and full-scale conflict on Ukraine. A bell shall be rung each hour, on the hour, to start a minute of silence to recollect the deaths of Ukrainian troopers and civilians.
Andrew Liszczynsky, 63, additionally of Ukrainian heritage, steadily travels from his Moncrieff residence, generally along with his kids, to affix the protest.
On Saturday the group can develop to greater than 50 individuals of a variety of backgrounds.
“Our purpose is to protest till victory for Ukraine, to encourage the Ukrainian troopers and folks to maintain preventing, to point out them they’ve assist coming from the world over, particularly in Canberra,” says Andrew.
However after practically 12 months of protesting, Andrew says individuals are starting to really feel “protest fatigue”.
“I stated, don’t be afraid to do one thing, even simply one thing little, daily,” he says.
“It may very well be lighting a candle or placing a flag out the entrance. The worst factor we will do is put our protests on the again burner.”
What continues to inspire them is seeing President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on social media.
“He stated in a clip it’s not a lot that he’s courageous, however that he doesn’t need to let individuals down,” says Andrew.
“That’s true of all of us. We don’t need to let individuals down, both.
“He made commitments as president when he was elected, and he stated he’s sticking by them, and that’s very inspirational.
“He and the primary woman may have left Ukraine or bunkered down, however he stayed and is filming clips within the streets of Kiev, to point out the nation and the world that he’s there.”
The Ukraine ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko has additionally supplied his reward to the Kingston protesters.
“Russia must be stopped, and the protesters are a steady reminder to the embassy,” he says.
“It can be crucial that the Ukrainian group have the chance and the suitable to protest. I’ve been on the market in Kingston a few instances, to point out my assist and to thank them personally.
“It’s critical for individuals to be on the market, and it’s good to have the Australian reminder that the conflict in Ukraine is ongoing.”
The reactions from the drivers alongside Canberra Avenue additionally “normally” inspire the group to proceed protesting.
“For each 20 or so automobile horn beeps, you would possibly get one one who says we’re Ukrainian Nazis, however they aren’t price responding to,” says Andrew.
Marusya shares that some individuals go as far as to drive by puddles to splash mud on to her and fellow protesters.
“However that evokes us extra, to maintain going. We simply suppose it doesn’t matter if we’re sizzling, chilly or splashed, it’s nothing in comparison with what our Ukrainian troopers and civilians are going by,” she says.
“Aside from the police, who’re exterior the Russian embassy most days as a ‘simply in case’, we don’t have direct contact with the embassy,” says Andrew.
“Sometimes they wave hiya with only one finger, and I yell again that it’s not very diplomatic of them.”
By way of furthering the assist they’re receiving, Marusya says she has tried to succeed in out to the federal and native governments, however has been advised just a few instances “it’s too onerous”.
“However Shane Rattenbury did come out as soon as and he did facilitate, by placing me in touch with somebody on the Nationwide Capital Authority, to gentle up Canberra’s buildings in yellow and blue, and that was a very highly effective factor,” she says. “And [Senator] David Pocock and his spouse have been with us just a few instances as properly.”
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Ian Meikle, editor