Demonstration Part of Diaspora-Wide #ArtsakhStrong Advocacy Campaign
WASHINGTON—Armenian-Americans from across the DC area gathered on Friday outside the Azerbaijani Embassy for a protest against Baku’s ongoing military attacks against Nagorno Karabakh. The demonstration was organized by Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Sebouh Gomideh, in cooperation with the Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church, and featured a strong showing of area youth from the Armenian Youth Federation, Armenian General Athletic Union (Homentmen), and the local Hamasdegh Armenian School.
The Armenian crowd of well over 150 rallied outside Baku’s diplomatic mission, just off of Washington’s famed Embassy Row, brandishing printed banners and chanting pro-peace messages. They were met by a small counter-protest drawn from the families of Azerbaijani Embassy staff – celebrating the Aliyev government’s brutal onslaught that that resulted in over 100 casualties on both sides, including the death of 12-year-old boy and execution and mutilation of an elderly Armenian couple in Talish.
“We stood strong today at Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Washington – in concert with Armenians in cities across the globe who are protesting Baku’s violence – to send a powerful message to Ilham Aliyev to stop his aggression against Nagorno Karabakh,” said ARF Sebouh Chapter Chairman and Chairman of the Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church Board of Trustees Aram Sarafian. “As Americans, we are appalled at Azerbaijan’s reckless disregard for human life — whether Armenian or Azeri — and the Aliyev regime’s deliberate violation of 1994 ceasefire and ongoing negotiations brokered by the United States and other OSCE Minsk Group countries. Our commitment to a free and independent Artsakh is unyielding, and we continue to work to ensure the safety and security of the Armenian people.”
On April 2nd, just days after meeting with Vice-President Biden and Secretary of State Kerry in Washington, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev attacked Nagorno Karabakh with heavy artillery and advanced weaponry that led to the death of over 30 Armenians and scores of Azerbaijanis. Over 60 Armenian American organizations have called on President Obama to clearly and publicly condemn Azerbaijan’s attack and put in place concrete measures to ensure peace, including the zeroing out of all military assistance to Azerbaijan and enforcing Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act restrictions on U.S. aid to that country. The groups also called for the implementation of the Royce-Engel peace proposals and expanded assistance to the people of Artsakh to rebuild areas destroyed by Azerbaijani bombings.