CHICAGO, Ill.—A few dozen members of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Eastern Region and its supporters from the local Armenian community gathered in Chicago on November 9 to protest against territorial concessions and the detention of prisoners of war held by Azerbaijan.
The demonstration marked the one-year anniversary of the trilateral ceasefire agreement ending the 2020 Artsakh War. The ARF youth organizations of North America have joined a pan-Armenian resistance movement to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who they hold responsible for surrendering Artsakh to Azerbaijan.
AYF-YOARF members traveled from Detroit, Granite City and Racine to assemble outside the Honorary Consulate of Armenia on Kinzie Street in Chicago. They held signs reading “Meghri corridor means pan-Turkism is at our door,” “Stop pan-Turkism” and “Don’t betray Armenian heroes” beneath large tri-color flags, billowing from the gusty wind.
“That, sadly, has been the legacy of Nikol Pashinyan: weakness, lies and surrender, when our nation more than ever needed strength, truth and solidarity. The strength to say enough, to stop the surrender of our sovereign homeland, Artsakh, Syunik, foreign corridors and more. The truth that Azerbaijan and its Turkish ally are not misunderstood neighbors to be appeased, but rather genocidal killers to be resisted. The solidarity to awaken our nation and rally our people to our common defense,” said AYF Eastern Region Central Executive member Araxie Tossounian in her opening remarks.
AYF-ER Central Executive chairman Vrej Dawli led the group in chants, shouting, “No more concessions, no more deals,” “Artsakh is Armenian” and “No more political prisoners” to passersby.
“As part of this brave Resistance movement, a movement to end the Turkification of Armenia and land concessions to hostile nations, we demand an end to corridors. We demand an end to the usage of the concession of land as a negotiation tool. We demand an end to the inaction by the current Pashinyan regime on the issue of our tortured and kidnapped prisoners of war. We demand the release of all illegally imprisoned members of parliament who have been violated in their constitutional rights,” said AYF Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Chapter member Aram Brunson.
“Above all, we call upon all Armenians across the world to recognize that Artsakh is our land, that Western Armenia is our land, that Nakhichevan is our land, and that Javakhk is our land,” he concluded.
At the end of the protest, the group toured the consulate and Oscar Isberian Rugs.
“It was such a special way to end our day, reminding us that our heritage has such a rich culture and history and that we create the most beautiful things,” said AYF Detroit “Kopernik Tandourjian” Chapter member Talar Bagdasarian. “We join the resistance movement so that we can continue to show the world all of the beauty that Armenia and Armenians can offer.”