PARIS–About 300 French Armenia’s converged on the French Senate Wednesday, calling on the body to pass a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenia’s suffered genocide at the hands of the Turks.
The bill sponsored by the opposition Socialist party passed in the French National Assembly on Oct 12, 2006 and provides for a year in jail and a 45,000-euro fine–the same punishment that is imposed for denying the Nazi Holocaust. But it still needs approval from the Senate and President.
Since the bill was passed by the National Assembly, France has seen a wave of hate crimes directed at its Armenian community, including the desecration of memorials and monumen’s and the threatening of individuals. Earlier in May, the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Valance France was desecrated with black graffiti spray painted at its base.
The demonstrators, joined by several French parliamentarians, lined the steps of the Senate building carrying placards that read “denial is a crime and I want a law to punish it.”
According to Mourad Papazian, the chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in Europe, there will be a second demonstration in front of the French Senate on November 22 where nearly 10,000 people are expected to participate.