Protesters flocked to squares and outside Russian embassies in cities including Tokyo, Tel Aviv and New York on Thursday to denounce the invasion of Ukraine, while more than a thousand people who tried to do the same in Russia were arrested.

The first known protest took place outside the Russian embassy in Washington at around 1am local time (0600 GMT) on Thursday, just three hours after President Vladimir Putin said a military operation had begun.

Local news reports showed dozens of protesters in the US capital waving Ukrainian flags and chanting “Stop Russian aggression!”

In London, hundreds of protesters, many of them Ukrainians and some in tears, gathered outside Downing Street, the home of the prime minister, urging Britain to do more.

“We need help, we need someone to support us,” said one of them. “Ukraine is too small and the pressure is too great.”

In Paris, a protester told Reuters: “I feel that we are in a very dangerous moment for the whole world.”

In Madrid, Oscar-winning Spanish actor Javier Bardem, nominated for another Oscar this year, joined a hundred protesters outside the Russian embassy. “It is an invasion … It violates Ukraine’s fundamental right to territorial sovereignty, international law and many other things,” Bardem said.

A giant flag was carried through Times Square in Manhattan by a crowd of several hundred protesters.

In Bern, the Swiss capital, hundreds of people gathered with Ukrainian flags and chanting “Peace for Ukraine!”.

A small demonstration in Geneva, organized by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, outside the European headquarters of the UN, condemned what the group said was the threat of Putin to use nuclear weapons.

There were other demonstrations in Beirut, Tel Aviv, Dublin and Prague.

More protests were scheduled in the US cities of Houston and Denver throughout the day, according to social media posts.

In Russia itself, protesters defied an official warning that explicitly threatened criminal prosecution and even jail time for those who called or participated in the protests.

Hundreds of people demonstrated in cities including Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, chanting slogans such as “No to war!” and holding makeshift signs. As of 1939 GMT, police had detained no fewer than 1,667 people in 53 cities, according to rights monitor OVD-Info. In Moscow alone, 600 people were arrested, the Tass news agency reported.

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