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In-Person Event: ANCA Protest, February 25, 2:00

Washington D.C. AYF “Ani” Chapter announces protest and commemoration of Baku-Sumgait in wake of genocide in Artsakh

In commemoration of the Baku and Sumgait pogroms, the executive of the Washington DC “Ani” Chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) has announced that it will hold a protest outside the Embassy of Azerbaijan on Sunday, February 25, at 2 p.m. As this is one of the first major actions since the government of Azerbaijan committed genocide against the indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), the Armenian community of the Washington D.C. region, along with its allies, are encouraging a large turnout.

“The AYF will always be at the forefront of the movement to defend our homeland and our people,” stated AYF DC Chair Galy Jackmakjian. “The massacres of Armenians by Azeri authorities at Baku and Sumgait decades ago were just the tip of an iceberg that has continued to threaten the Armenian nation – not just in Artsakh but everywhere.”

“This is an ongoing genocide that hasn’t stopped since 1915,” said Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Washington DC chair Matthew Girardi. “By denying the Armenian Genocide of 1915 for decades, sending arms to Turkey and Azerbaijan and failing to sanction the Azeri government, our government betrays its stated values of freedom and justice for all. Instead, this complicity is encouraging further genocide and authoritarian aggression.”

The Baku and Sumgait pogroms were massacres of Armenians, then living in the Azerbaijani SSR, by Azeri authorities in retaliation for demands for self-governance of the historically Armenian region of Artsakh. According to contemporary accounts, innocent Armenian civilians were mutilated and burned alive as Azerbaijanis paraded through the streets shouting, “Long live Baku without Armenians” and “Death to the Armenians.”

The demands for self-determination were repeatedly denied by Azeri authorities, eventually culminating in the recent forced exodus of the entire region’s indigenous inhabitants to the Republic of Armenia last September. Altogether, the pogroms and wars that followed resulted in hundreds of thousands of Armenian refugees and thousands more killed.

The AYF, in addition to commemorating the Baku and Sumgait pogroms, is immediately calling on Congress to end all aid to Azerbaijan, sanction the Aliyev regime for its repeated crimes against humanity, expand U.S. aid to Artsakh genocide survivors and ensure the dignity, safe right of return and self-determination for the people of Artsakh.

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