By members of the AYF Washington DC “Ani” Chapter
WASHINGTON, DC – In commemoration of the Artsakh War’s one-year remembrance, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Washington DC “Ani” chapter led a community-wide protest condemning Azerbaijani and Turkish aggression against Artsakh and Armenia and demanding sanctions against the Aliyev and Erdogan regimes. Assembling at the Embassy of Azerbaijan and marching to the Embassy of Turkey, the unflinching voice of the unified Greater Washington, DC Armenians echoed throughout the capital calling for the urgent release of more than 200 Armenian POWs illegally held captive and calling for justice.
“One year ago, the barbaric Turks and Azeris started the attack on the free and independent republic of Artsakh. These war criminals targeted innocent men, women, children, historic churches, used drones to decimate entire homes and families, white phosphorus to poison our people and environment, and brought foreign mercenaries to commit atrocities they were too cowardly and inept to do themselves. This is the same government that has supported ISIS and now publicly declared support for the Taliban,” announced AYF organizers as the protest began.
Protesters called attention to ongoing Azerbaijani aggression following the disastrous November 9 ceasefire, which has emboldened President Aliyev to encroach on sovereign Armenian territory and disrupt travel to southern Armenia.
“The AYF and our communities are united, here in Washington DC and in capitals around the world in our struggle for Artsakh’s and Armenia’s freedom. We stand united with our brothers and sisters in Artsakh who stand defiantly in the face of an increasingly aggressive Azerbaijani enemy. We stand united with our brothers and sisters in Syunik, who cannot drive freely on their own roads, who live under the shadow of Azerbaijani snipers who are there to intimidate our communities trying to live a normal life and put fear in children going to school just yards away. We stand united with our brothers and sisters in Armenia, who must endure having over a thousand Azerbaijani troops encroached on sovereign Armenian land,” shared protesters, between chants demanding sanctions against Turkey and Azerbaijan.
AYF DC “Ani” Chapter member Ani Mard, who spent the summer in Armenia working with the Armenian Legal Center for Justice and Human Rights and the International Comparative Law Center in Armenia assisting with legal cases filed with international courts to secure the release of Armenian POWs, decried the inaction of the Pashinyan regime and vowed, “We will not stop fighting until every one of our POWs is at home and safe with their families. We will not stop fighting until we see justice for Artsakh. If Armenians have not won the war, then the war is not over.”