NEW YORK, N.Y. (A.W.)—Hundreds of Armenian Americans converged in New York on April 9 to participate in a peaceful protest against Azerbaijani aggression in the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR/Artsakh). The demonstration was organized by the New York and New Jersey (“Armen Garo” and “Dro”) chapters of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADLP/Ramgavar Party). The protest took place at the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, near the United Nations (U.N.) headquarters—and around the corner from the Consulate General of Azerbaijan.
A requiem prayer was observed by Fr. Mesrob Lakissian of St. Illuminator’s Armenian Apostolic Cathedral and Rev. Haig Kherlopian of the Armenian Evangelical Church of New York, in memory of the Armenian servicemen who were killed in the recent hostilities in NKR.
More than 300 protesters voiced their outrage over the recent violent attacks that were instigated by Azerbaijani forces against the peaceful residents of Karabagh.
ARF Eastern U.S. Central Committee member Aram Hovagimian stressed the need for international condemnation of Baku’s unprovoked attacks on the people of Karabagh. “We call on the United States and the international community to end their silence on [Azerbaijani] aggression. We also call on [Azerbaijani President Ilham] Aliyev to account for Azeri war crimes, including beheading of soldiers and the mutilation and execution of civilians,” said Hovagimian.
“The only salvation of the Armenian people is through armed struggle,” said ADLP-Ramgavar representative Norair Meguerditchian, in his address to protesters. “Though we are not on the ground in NKR, we have a lot of work to do here as well—through our lobby organizations such as the Armenian National Committee of America and the Armenian Assembly of America, we must put pressure in order to ensure Artsakh’s safety,” he said.
Author and playwright Herand Markarian also addressed the crowd—the youth in particular. “You, the youth, have gathered here today to tell the Turk and the Azeri that they cannot drive away our people [from our homeland] because we have a history [there],” Markarian said in his address. “Artsakh is not alone; Armenia is not alone. We—the diaspora, Armenia, and Artsakh—are one.”
“We need to show the American government that we’re here, and we’re not going anywhere,” said Ani Tchaghlasian, who spoke on behalf of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of New Jersey. “As citizens of this country, we demand that Artsakh is recognized today—not tomorrow… You must all call your congressmen, call your senators, sign the letters on the ANCA website—that’s how change comes… Policy has to change here in the United States, for the war to end in Artsakh,” she said.
Below is video footage of the protest.