Nothing was going to stop a number of Pentictonites from gathering for an anti-war demonstration in support of Ukraine on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 26).
Even talking about the subject at hand — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — was difficult for one woman who made sure she brought along her five-year-old son to the rally.
“I’m going to have a hard time not crying right now just talking about it,” Jaimie Miller-Haywood said when asked about the conflict in Europe.
A number of community members who spoke to the Western News on Saturday did not have Ukrainian heritage or even share a connection to the country prior to this week.
But in the name of the demonstration, it didn’t matter.
“I think any civil rights infractions in any corner of the world is something that we should all be taking very seriously,” Miller-Haywood added.
People gathered at the intersection of Main Street and Warren Avenue in Penticton at 12 p.m.
The sounds of honking car horns in support of the anti-war demonstration could be heard as the minutes passed.
“We support Ukraine and we don’t want any war, anywhere,” said Andrew Atherton, a local man who was joined by his family on the Penticton sidewalk.
Gatherings in support of Ukraine are set to take place across the Okanagan on Saturday, most notably at Kelowna City Hall starting at 4 p.m.
Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday (Feb. 24). Western countries, including Canada, have since imposed strict sanctions on Russia.
As of Saturday morning, 198 Ukrainian lives have been lost as a result of the war, according to the country’s minister of healthcare.
The president of the Kelowna-based Dolyna Ukrainian Cultural Society told Black Press on Thursday that there are roughly 14,000 people in the area with Ukrainian heritage.