War in Ukraine: Leeds city centre protest calls for end to conflict - live updates

Protestors are staging a rally and march in Leeds city centre on Sunday lunchtime to call for an end to the war in Ukraine.

By Tony Gardner
Sunday, 6th March 2022, 2:25 pm

Around 500 people gathered in Briggate before marching on to Leeds Town Hall for speeches. Follow our live blog below and refresh the page for the latest updates.

A crowd of around 500 people gather on the steps of Leeds Town Hall to call for an end to the war in Ukraine.

Leeds protestors call for end to war in Ukraine - live updates

Last updated: Sunday, 06 March, 2022, 15:03

Family joins protest in act of solidarity

Richard Wood and partner Danielle-Barker Wood have joined the protest along with their children Erica, Meredith and Gabrielle.

Richard said: “We’ve just come here today because obviously we think that we need to raise awareness of what’s going on.

“It’s obviously very horrible, there’s not much we can do outside of what the Government’s doing but I think we’re just showing a sense of solidarity really with what’s going on there.”

Sat on her dad’s shoulders, daughter Meredith said she was there to protest about the war in Ukraine and it was “not nice to have wars”.

March makes it way through city centre

The crowds have now set off from Briggate and are marching along The Headrow towards Leeds Town Hall.

France urges Britain to do more to help Ukrainian refugees

France has today urged Britain to do more to help Ukrainian refugees trying to come to the UK from Calais, as Justice Secretary Dominic Raab defended the visa rules for those fleeing the conflict.

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin on Sunday said it was "inhumane" of the UK to turn away refugees arriving at the French port city if they did not have a valid visa.

Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees in Calais have been told by British authorities to obtain a visa at UK consulates in Paris or Brussels, he said.

Asked about reports that 150 Ukrainian refugees had been turned away at Calais, Mr Raab suggested support would be undermined for Ukraine if the UK lets refugees in without visas.

The Justice Secretary told the BBC's Sunday Morning programme: "If we just open the door, not only will we not benefit the people that we need to, the genuine refugees, but I think we undermine the popular support for this very thing, so I don't think that's the right thing to do.

“We need to make sure that we're acting for those that need our support."

Mr Raab said he expects up to 200,000 Ukrainians could come to the UK through the family dependents route, while the “route for Ukrainians fleeing persecution is uncapped”.

He added that the UK had also given £220m of humanitarian support, which is directly for the Ukrainian people but also for those countries taking refugees.

‘We want the UK government to start taking more action’

Polina Merkulova, of Feminist Anti-War Resistance, is among those taking part in today’s protest.

She said: “First of all, we want to show solidarity with all the people in Ukraine who are suffering from this horrific war.

“We’re also showing solidarity towards the Russian people who are protesting now and being arrested as we speak. There are thousands of arrests up to date so there will be more.

“We also want the UK government to start taking more action to stop this war and welcome refugees into the UK.”

Crowd growing ahead of march through Leeds city centre

Around 100 people have arrived in Briggate so far to join the protest against the war in Ukraine.

Banners displayed as protestors start to gather

Members of Yorkshire and Leeds CND gather in Briggate ahead of a protest calling for an end to the war in Ukraine.

‘We are here to express solidarity with the Ukrainian people'

Our reporter Tony Gardner is on Briggate where members of Yorkshire and Leeds CND have started to gather ahead of the protest.

The organisation’s Jonas Marvin said: “The first and foremost reason why we’re here is to express solidarity with the Ukrainian people who are witnessing and experiencing horrible conditions due to the Russian war and imperial aggression that’s happened over the last couple of weeks.

“Why we’re here is that we want a negotiated settlement and we want a Russian withdrawal. We want the conflict to de-escalate, we want this Government to accept the Ukrainian refugees into this country and we want peace.”

He says the protestors plan to gather in Briggate over the next 40 minutes or so before heading to Leeds Town Hall at around 1.35pm.

Protest to be staged in Leeds city centre

Hundreds of people are set to march through Leeds this lunchtime for a ‘Stop the War in Ukraine’ protest.

The protest - organised by Leeds CND and the Feminist Antiwar Resisters - is set to see people assemble on Briggate at 1pm before marching to Leeds Town Hall for "peace, de-escalation and Russian withdrawal".

It is also supported by Stand Up To Racism, Unite Community and Leeds For Europe.

You can read more here:

Hundreds of people expected on Briggate on Sunday for 'Stop the War in Ukraine' protest

Hundreds of people are set to march through Leeds on Sunday for a 'Stop the War in Ukraine' protest.

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