Ukraine 1 Year Vigil 2023-02-24

On a cold Friday night, around 200 Ukrainian people and supporters gathered to remember the 20,000 Ukrainian troops and civilians who have died in the 12 months since the invasion. It was a bitter-sweet event for around twenty of us who had gathered the year before, on the night of the invasion. As the war raged we had seen the people of Nottingham and Ukrainian refugees come together and build one of the largest Ukrainian campaigns in the country. We had made friends and built a community for the worst possible reasons.

The event was supported by Nadia Whittome MP who has been a vocal and active participant in many of the campaign’s numerous marches and rallies.

The event was marred by an unfortunate incident. As the vigil as breaking up two men walked through the crowd shouting “Putin” and “Z Army”. Stewards immediately moved in to shepherd the men away from the crowd and a scuffle broke out. As I was photographing the scene, one of the men notice me and started posing. He then suddenly and without warning attacked me, possibly trying to smash the camera. Fortunately the stewards moved in quickly and they were swiftly followed by the police.

My attacker was arrested and I spent the next couple of hours giving a statement. Neither I nor anyone else was hurt but it was a shock. There have been times before when I’ve been threatened and at far-right demonstrations things can get a bit tense but this was a first and at such a peaceful event.