Lyon Paris Walkathon Culminates in a Gathering at the French Senate

*Protesters demand the adoption of the Armenian Genocide recognition resolution by the French Senate.

PARIS The walkathon that began last April 24th in Lyon–France–and had twenty different stages–with hundreds of Armenian and French participants came to an stop on Tuesday–May 11–in Alfortville–near Paris. The participants were given a warm welcome–by mayor Rene Rouquet. The participants were then taken to city hall where a special reception was prepared in their honor. The group–bearing Armenian flags–was then led to "Tower" square where they laid a commemorative wreath upon the memorial cross–paying their respects to the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Later at 9 p.m. in the Leo Lagrange stadium–a large group of Armenia’s assembled–under the direction of the Hai Tahd Committee and the "April 24 Committee." Present at the assembly were the mayor of Alfortville–Rene Rouquet–the Chairman of the French-Armenian Friendship Caucus–Representative Jean Paul Brette–Representative Martin David–Senator-Mayor of Villeorban Gilbert Shabrou–Senate Communist Bloc Chairman Ellen Luc–Representative from the Armenian Embassy–Hamlet Kasbarian and Vahakn Atapegian and Right Reverend Nerses Baboojian.

The master of ceremonies for the evening was Harout Mardirossian who mentioned that many representatives–mayors and other distinguished individuals who could not be present send their heart-felt condolences and stress the fact that they remain the close allies of the Armenian people in their quest for justice.

Shortly thereafter Rene Rouquet gave a speech in which he protected the Hai Tahd–and stressed the necessity of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. After briefly alluding to Daniel Varoujan’s "Red Soil," Rouquet expressed his optimism that justice will in the end prove victorious.

Later–Ellen Luc gave a speech in which she said that today–in the French Parliament–the issue of genocide must be addressed and condemned in order to stop the possibility of further genocides in the future. Luc expressed her willingness to fight alongside the Armenian people until they prove victorious in their struggle.

Hilda Choboyan of the Armenian National Committee of France–who was one of the individuals who helped make the walkathon possible–stated that the walkathon–more than a means of protest is an act used to spread alarm through the community and raise awareness.

"Today–in an effort to win over Turkey’s alliance–the French government is using various methods to not allow the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. However–the government must keep in mind that in this way–its not helping but harming its ally. The proof is with the last elections in Turkey."

The last segment of the evening was a round table debate–whose participants were Rene Rouquet–Jean Paul Brette–Gilbert Shabrou–Ara Krikorian (chairman of the Armenian National Committe) and Aleksei Govsian (chairman of the April 24 Committee).

On Wednesday–May 12–hundreds of people assembled in front of the Alforville City Hall where speeches were given by Rene Rouquet–Ellen Luke–Hilda Choboian and Ara Krikorian. Afterwards–the crowd was directed towards the Paris City Hall where a delegation was received by the mayor’s office.

Finally–participants of the Lyon-Paris walkathon were led into the Parliament where they were greeted by President Laurent Fabius’ Diplomatic Advisor. The walkathon will continue to its final destination–the French Senate where the crowds will protest the French government’s failure to recognize the Armenian Genocide.


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