Thousands expected at Lincoln Memorial rally in solidarity with Ukraine

Thousands are expected to gather at D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial on Sunday to show solidarity with Ukraine a month into the war.

Several Ukrainian diaspora-led nonprofits and advocacy groups, including United Help Ukraine, Razom for Ukraine and the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, will come together at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial starting at 2 p.m. Sunday to renew their push for a firm Western response against Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine.



“While the world stands with Ukraine in solidarity, much more needs be done to stop this mass killing of civilians,” read the event’s Facebook invite. “Our rally at the Lincoln Memorial, commemorating a U.S. president who safeguarded the freedoms of this nation, is a call on the United States to defend Ukraine’s freedom and democracy.”

When organizers of the upcoming rally marched from the Lincoln Memorial to the White House on Feb. 20, the war was still a much-feared hypothetical. Speakers warned of a nightmarish worst-case scenario that for many Ukrainians has now been realized.

The world finds itself in a vastly different place than a month ago, and likewise, organizers’ messaging has changed with it: What were then calls for sanctions and military equipment to dissuade Russian President Vladimir Putin, are now pleas to financially isolate Russia and streamline refuge for the millions of Ukrainians displaced in Europe’s largest conflict since World War II.

“Thousands lost their lives, more than 100 children perished. Russia’s unprovoked attack on the people of Ukraine continues at this very moment,” organizers said. “Russian missiles strike at the homes and cities of Ukrainians, killings hundreds of innocent civilians. Putin must see that the free world will not let this continue.”

The rally will also echo a plea made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his recent speech to Congress for a NATO-led no-fly zone over Ukraine — a proposal which the Biden administration opposes for fear it would pit American forces against Russia, instead opting for advanced weapons shipments to Ukrainian forces.

Zelenskyy made the unusual move Wednesday of partly delivering his nightly wartime address in English to call for global marches marking one month since the war began.

“Come from your offices, your homes, your schools and universities. Come in the name of peace. Come with Ukrainian symbols to support Ukraine, to support freedom, to support life,” Zelenskyy said, standing outdoors in Kyiv under armed guard. “Come to your squares, your streets, make yourselves visible and heard. From March 24, downtown in all your cities, all as one together who want to stop the war.”

Sunday’s D.C. event has been in the works since earlier this week, but Zelenskyy’s appeal will likely give it a boost: As of Thursday, nearly 900 people had signed up for the event on Facebook as either interested or going.

According to a permit filed with the National Park Service, organizers expect around 5,000 people to attend. Among their list of speakers: Zelenskyy himself, who is expected to address rallygoers by video.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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