In March 2022, an image went viral on social media showing a building lit up in blue and yellow, the colors of Ukraine’s flag. And the rub? The building in question was the Russian embassy in Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal.
The image was shared on March 11, 2022, by author and journalist Roger Hutchinson, where it was widely seen:
The Russian Embassy in Lisbon. Two neighbouring houses are projecting the blue and yellow onto its facade. The ambassador is reportedly “apoplectic”. pic.twitter.com/KHR2ANYbhh
— Roger Hutchinson (@RogerMiles) March 11, 2022
Although some questioned whether the picture was real or possibly altered, it was authentic. We don’t know what the reaction of the Russian ambassador to Portugal was to the light display, but we can say that the picture was initially published by Portuguese-language news outlets before hitting social media and going viral there, as it showcased an act of defiance.
According to the Portuguese newspaper Diário de Notícias, the original photograph was taken by Lisbon-based freelance photographer Rita Chantre for Global Images on March 7, 2022. It was taken after a group of young demonstrators projected the colorful lights onto the building.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, local time. The protest against the invasion in Lisbon was just one of many worldwide.
“Embaixada da Rússia em Lisboa iluminada com as cores da Ucrânia.” Diário de Notícias, 7 March 2022, https://www.dn.pt/internacional/embaixada-da-russia-em-lisboa-iluminada-com-as-cores-da-ucrania-14658217.html.