PARIS, France—The Armenian community of France on March 14 held protests against Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s official visit to France, a week after Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian was welcomed to the French state.
The protests took place in Paris, Marseille, and Lyon, organized by the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) of France “Nor Seround.”
French Senator Luc Carvounas, National Assembly member Valérie Boyer, former politician Patrick Devedjian, Michel Lambert as well as representatives of the Kurdish community of France were present as the demonstrations and denounced Aliyev’s visit.
“It has been 23 years since the Azerbaijani state has violated the ceasefire, which it signed itself in 1994, every week and almost every day,” relayed Alan Demirdjian, representative of the AYF. “Azerbaijan aims for impunity and without stopping. Children, ambulances, and all civilians—and what are they reproached with? Nothing!”
“Aliyev the dictator, Aliyev the corrupt, Aliyev the assassin is received at the Elysee Palace, as if nothing had happened,” Demirdjian continued. “Worse, Azerbaijan is on the list of the top fifteen countries to which the French state supplies its weapons!”
AYF France “Nor Seround” then stated their commitment to the peaceful resolution of the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Republic conflict by the international recognition of its independence.
They called on Hollande to remind Aliyev during their meeting of all the grieving Armenian families his regime killed and that the protection of the Artsakh borders will always be a priority.
“The battle will only end with our victory. Dear friends, dear comrades, the fight continues,” Demirdjian concluded.
Co-Chairperson of the Co-Chairmen of the Coordination Council of the Armenian Organizations of France Mourad Papazian during the demonstration exclaimed “We were there in 1988, 29 years ago to support the liberation struggle of our comrades, our compatriots from Nagorno-Karabakh who were assaulted by Azerbaijan!
He then appealed to France’s elected officials and its mayors to increase cooperation with Artsakh. According to Papazian, it is the best way to oppose a corrupt diplomacy.
Committee for the Defense of the Armenian Cause (CDCA) chairperson Harout Mardirossian gave a speech at the demonstration in Paris, underlining Baku’s many human rights abuses and calling on France to terminate relations with Azerbaijan. “Corruption, authoritarianism, the media under control, democracy and freedom of expression violated, these are the qualities that some French elected officials seem to appreciate, unwilling to be moved by these abuses,” Mardirossian said.
Ara Toranian, Co-Chairperson of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations of France (CCAF), closed the protest saying thanking the elected officials for their presence and support for the Armenian community.
Toranian angrily expressed that the demonstrators are “a few hundred meters from the person responsible for the Armenian deaths, the arms race of Azerbaijan, the person responsible for the ceasefire violation, the fighter of war in Karabagh!”
“We are engaged in an extremely difficult fight. But the young people of Nagorno-Karabakh—those who expose their lives for the right to the existence of their people—give us the courage to continue, said Toranian.
“Long live the struggle of the Armenian people! Long live the struggle of Nagorno-Karabakh! Long live democracy! And long live solidarity among peoples,” he concluded.