(GLENDALE) – The Armenian Youth Federation will hold a demonstration on Saturday in front of the Azerbaijani consulate in Los Angeles amid the first European Games currently taking place in Baku, the Azerbaijani capital in order to call attention to the government’s continuous human rights violations.
“We won’t sit idly by and watch Azerbaijan attempt to present itself as a democracy on the world stage,” said Gev Iskajyan, a member of the AYF’s Central Executive board. “With the international attention surrounding Baku at this time, we feel now is a good a time as any to show the world just how corrupt the government of Azerbaijan is.”
Controversy has already surrounded the Baku games since its opening last Friday. Several news organizations, including the United Kingdom-based The Guardian newspaper and BBC, and international human rights organizations, like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have been banned from entering the country.
The government of Azerbaijan has also made repeated threats to start a war with neighboring Artsakh and Armenia, with intensities rising with each border scrimmage. The past year has also seen more reported casualties than any time after the cease-fire agreement of 1994.
A number of news outlets, including CNN and Politico, have already written about the corruption in Baku and the immense limitations on the freedom of press. Singer Lady Gaga has also faced criticism after singing a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” at the opening ceremony of the games. She was reportedly paid $2 million to perform the single song.
“There are whispers right now about this issue,” Iskajyan said, “but this needs to be broadcast to the world. We hope to shed light through social media and the demonstration on Saturday.”
The demonstration is set to take place on Saturday, June 20, at 3 p.m. in front of the Azerbaijani consulate, located at 11766 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. For more information, visit our social media pages (@ayfwest).