15 000 Gather for Pre Election Rally in Beirut

BOURDJ HAMMOUD–Lebanon (Aztag)–More than 15,000 Lebanese Armenian community members gathered Wednesday evening at Bourdj Hammoud’s Shaghzoian center for a pre-election rally in support of the United Armenian Bloc candidates–organized by the bloc’s public relations committee.

Present at the rally were numerous Lebanese officials–including deputy prime minister and interior minister Michel Murr–whose slate of candidates for the Metn elections also attended the rally. Among the Armenian political leaders were the United Armenian Bloc candidates Arthur Nazarian–Sebouh Hovnanian–Abraham Dedeyan–George Kasardji–Hagop Pakradouni–Mihran Seferian and Abraham Abadjian.

The United Armenian Bloc is a coalition representing the Lebanese Armenian community. The slate was brought forth by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the Social Democratic Hunchakian party–in conjunction with religious and organizational leaders.

Also present at the rally were ARF Bureau member Yervand Pamboukian and chairman of the Hunchakian Central Executive Vahridj Djeredjian–as well as the ARF Lebanon Central Committee–the Lebanon Governing Body of the Hunchakian party–mayor of Bourdj Hammoud Antranik Meserlian and Registrar General Dr. Maral Gidanian.

The gathering began when the Homenetmen marching band arrived at the Shaghzoian center after parading through the streets of the mainly Armenian town of Bourdj Hammoud.

United Armenian Bloc PR coordinator Lutfig Ayvazian greeted the community in Arabic by asserting that such a large presence was a testament to the will of the community–which by its attendance has shown that the people of Metn will "make the right choice," by electing the candidates of the Bloc.

In Armenian–remarks were presented by the ARF Lebanon Central Committee chairman Benjamin Bchakchian–who stressed that such political rallies are aimed at uniting the Armenian community.

"You have proven that our national interests far outweigh personal ones," remarked Bchakchian–explaining that the United Armenian Bloc is not a temporary grouping–but rather one that will address the interests of the Armenian community for years to come.

Also speaking at the rally were Sebouh Hovnanian–who urged the community to support the United Armenian Bloc–and deputy prime minister Michel Murr who stressed that–"you will decide the fate of Metn and not others who live elsewhere."

Earlier that day–a joint meeting between the ARF Bureau–the Hunchakian Central Executive–the ARF Central Committee of Lebanon and the Hunchakian Governing Body.

The meeting decided that the cooperation between the ARF and the Hunchakian party was not limited to the election processes and has a national and political base and called on the Lebanese-Armenian community to stand in solidarity with the United Armenian Bloc.

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