Azeris Demonstrate Against Karabakh at Armenian Embassy in DC

Azeri protesters protesting at the Armenian embassy in Washington DC

WASHINGTON–Some 30 Azerbaijanis gathered outside the Armenian embassy in Washington DC Wednesday, protesting against what they called “Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan” and demanding that Armenia’s "get out" of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Armenian National Committee of America Thursday urged Armenian-Americans to take action in support Nagorno Karabagh’s Democracy Movement by sending ANCA action alerts to their Senate and House representatives.

The protest was organized as part of a growing disinformation campaign launched in the United States and internationally, alleging that Armenia’s are occupying Azeri lands.

The demonstrators stood at the steps of the embassy holding signs that read "Armenia out of Azerbaijan," and "Armenia guilty of ethnic cleansing."

The signs, which others at the event said were unusually well made and professionally crafted, contained anti-Armenia messaging rather than the typical anti-Armenian slogans used in previous demonstrations of the like.

The demonstrators delivered a letter of protest to Armenian embassy staff to transfer to Ambassador Tatul Markaryan. According to the Azeri Press Agency, the demonstrators also sent letters claiming Armenia’s committed genocide in Khojaly to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the House and Senate foreign affairs committees, the State Department, New York Times, Washington Post, and other major newspaper.

Thursday’s protest comes amid heightened activism by Azerbaijan in the United States, working with Azeri and Turkish Americans on college campuses and in the halls of Congress and state legislatures, to distort the facts of the Karabakh conflict in Azerbaijan’s interests.

Azerbaijan’s government earlier this month announced that February 20 – March 1 would be considered Khojaly Awareness Days, kicking off what they called an international memorial effort that would be observed at all the Azeri embassies and consulates in the United States.

On Monday, the Azerbaijani Consulate General in Los Angeles staged a public event on Khojaly. The event came two days after the American Council of Turkish-speaking Students Association at Berkeley University and Northern California Cultural Center sponsored a conference at UC Berkeley titled “Tragedy of Khojaly.”

One of the fiercest battles of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict took place from February 24 to 26, 1994, following which the Karabakh Army liberated Khojaly–an Azeri stronghold from where the Azeri army would rain rockets and fire on the civilian population in Karabakh.

Neutralizing the Azeri stronghold was a key turning point in the Karabakh conflict, which culminated in the liberation of Shoushi in May of the same year.

The conflict was a direct result of Azerbaijan’s efforts to ethnically cleanse its Armenian population, as well as the nearly 200,000 indigenous Armenia’s living in Nagorno-Karabakh, an historic Armenian territory placed under Azeri control by Joseph Stalin in 1921.

In 1988 Azeri special forces units launched a series of pogroms against Armenia’s in Sumgait, Kirovabad, Baku and later in the Shahumian district of Karabakh. The move, a direct response to the hundreds of thousands of Armenian demonstrators urging the Kremlin to allow Karabakh to be part of Armenia, sparked the Karabakh conflict.

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