Thousands of people took to the street across the globe on Victory Day to commemorate the heroes who defeated Nazis in WWII, with Immortal Regiment events staged in Germany, Canada, Thailand and many other countries.
The Immortal Regiment march has set an all-time record in Russia, as more than 10 million participants across the nation participated. But the tradition, which was kick-started in Russia in 2011, has also become an international phenomenon.
Hundreds marched with photos of their relatives, who fought the Nazis in World War Two, in the German capital of Berlin, the city where Soviet soldiers erected the red Victory Banner atop the Reichstag in early May 1945 to signal the end of the bloodiest conflict in human history.
The people started off from the iconic Brandenburg Gate and moved towards the Soviet War Memorial at Tiergarten, carrying flags and singing patriotic songs from the World War Two era. Some in the crowd were also sporting Soviet military uniforms. Similar marches were held in 20 of Germany's federal states on May 9.
“The Immortal Regiment is with us and our relatives are with us. We remember them and that means we truly love them and we will always be hoping for peace," one of the participants told RT’s Ruptly video agency.
Several thousand marched in London to honor the World War Two heroes as the demonstration began at the Trafalgar Square and concluded in Whitehall, where key UK government buildings are situated. There were also Immortal Regiment marches in Manchester, Derby, the Scottish capital Edinburgh and Cardiff in Wales.
In Vienna, the Immortal Regiment brought together at least 800 people at Schwarzenbergplatz, hosting a large monument to Soviet troops who died liberating the Austrian capital from the Nazis in April 1945.
The Italian capital of Rome saw its march on the weekend, but on Wednesday Immortal Regiment events were held in Milan, Torino, Genoa and other cities.
Four thousand people joined the action in the Greek capital of Athens, with World War Two participants also commemorated in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, Serbia and other countries across Europe.
Two separate Immortal Regiment columns marched in Toronto on the day, setting the 8,000 attendance record for the event in one of Canada’s largest cities.
Large-scale Immortal Regiment marches are traditionally staged in former Soviet states on May 9 and this year was no exception. One hundred thousand supported the action in Moldova’s main city, Chisinau, with people of various ages from veterans to youths and children taking part.
The Immortal Regiment march attendance record was broken in Latvia’s Riga, where 15,000 took part. In the Armenian capital of Yerevan, the country’s president, Armen Sarkissian, was among the several thousand people who took to the streets with photos of their heroic kin.
Immortal Regiment events were not only held Europe but in Asia as well, with several hundred people, both Russian and Chinese, marching in Beijing's Chaoyang Park on Wednesday.
In Thailand, which is a popular destination among Russian tourists, the marches were held under the cover of darkness in order to avoid the heat. Between 700 and 800 people made their way along the sea-front in Pattaya with portraits of their relatives in their hands, while several hundred more supported the action on the island of Phuket. In total, more than a 1,000 took part in the Immortal Regiment march in the country, a number which is also record-breaking.
The Immortal Regiment events also saw hundreds taking part in Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.
Russian cosmonauts backed the Immortal Regiment tradition from space, posing with pictures of their relatives who helped defeat the Nazis aboard the International Space Station.
Last week, Immortal Regiment marches were held in the US, Israel, Kuwait, Australia and many other countries.