WASHINGTON—Armenian Americans from the Greater Washington, D.C. area condemned ongoing Azerbaijani aggression and honored the memory of its latest victim, Arman Yepremyan, at a June 28 protest in front of the Azerbaijani Embassy, set to coincide with the closing ceremonies of the European Games in Baku, reported the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF).
“We gathered at the Azerbaijani Embassy today to denounce Azerbaijani dictator Ilham Aliyev’s repeated attacks against Armenia and Artsakh, and to remember Arman Yepremyan and all the young men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure peace and freedom for the Armenian Homeland and stability in the Caucasus region,” said ARF “Sebouh” Gomideh Chairman Aram Sarafian, Esq. “No amount of public relations spending, or the extravagant hosting of the first European Games, can whitewash Azerbaijan’s crackdown against journalists and rights activists in their own country and ongoing ceasefire violations, which undermine prospects for a lasting Karabagh peace.”
Arman Mayisi Yepremyan was killed on the Nakhichevan border on Fri., June 26, raising concerns of yet another Azerbaijan-initiated escalation of violence this summer. Hundreds have been killed as a result of the Aliyev regime’s ceasefire violations over the past 20 years, with 2014 being among the bloodiest. Yepremyan’s death came one day after President Aliyev made outlandish statements laying claim to all of Armenia, stating, “Not only Nagorno-Karabagh is ours, but even the present-day Armenia was created on historical Azerbaijani lands. We all know that. Already the world knows about it. Erevan [Yerevan] khanate, Goyche, Zangezur mahal—these are our historical lands, and we, Azerbaijanis, must return to this land.”
“President Aliyev’s warmongering should be publicly condemned by the OSCE Minsk Group, charged to mediate a lasting Artsakh peace,” continued Sarafian. “Similarly, the European Olympics Commission and other international sporting organizations must not allow brutal dictators to use athletes to cover up atrocities and human rights violations.”
Over the past two weeks, Baku’s bid to boost its international image by spending billions of dollars to host the European Games largely backfired, with a steady stream of articles and op-eds that spotlighted Aliyev’s arrest and incarceration of journalists and human rights leaders appearing in top international publications, including the Guardian, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and lampooned on John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight,” available here:https://youtu.be/N8f3knzPOlg.
Members of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) “Ani” Chapter and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Leo Sarkisian Internship program participated in the protest, which was part of an international effort to educate elected officials and media about the Aliyev regime’s destabilizing role in the Caucasus.
Images from the protest are available on the ARF “Sebouh” Gomideh Facebook page.