WASHINGTON, DC- The Armenian Youth Federation-Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AYF-YOARF) Washington DC “Ani” Chapter organized a protest on Thursday outside the Azerbaijani embassy in response to Azerbaijan’s attempted invasion of Armenia.
On September 13, 2022, the Azeri military began a new unprovoked military offensive across the eastern border of the Republic of Armenia. Using heavy artillery and unmanned aerial vehicles, the Azeri military targeted both military and civilian infrastructure in southern and eastern provinces of Armenia. Among the cities and towns targeted included Vardenis, Sotk, Artanish, Ishkhanasar, Goris and Kapan. After sustained shelling, Azeri ground troops crossed the border and attempted to capture swaths of territory.
This dramatic escalation of hostilities came in the wake of rebuffed demands for formal recognition of Azerbaijan’s territorial claims over Artsakh and the establishment of a military corridor through the Syunik province of Armenia to link Azerbaijan to Nakhichevan.
Although a fragile ceasefire was brokered early Thursday, serious damage has been inflicted upon the Armenian people. It has thus far been reported that 135 Armenian soldiers were killed in action and seven civilians were wounded. More than 2,750 people have been displaced. Almost 200 homes have been damaged (including 60 that were completely destroyed). Sixty hectares of forest were burned, and four square miles of sovereign Armenian territory were occupied by the Azeri military.
In response, on Thursday evening, the Washington, DC Armenian community and allies gathered outside the Embassy of Azerbaijan to voice their opposition to such aggression and call for an end to the hostilities. Protesters proudly waved Armenia and Artsakh flags and fiercely chanted for peace, against the war crimes perpetrated by the Aliyev regime, for the return of Armenian prisoners of war and for the continued independence of Artsakh.
[RELATED: Actions speak volumes words can never reach by AYF DC “Ani” Chapter member Kristine Antanesian]
AYF DC “Ani” secretary Galy Jackmakjian welcomed community members and reminded participants of the importance of protecting the Armenian homeland and standing as a united people in the face of great adversity. Cheers of “Armenia wants peace, Azerbaijan wants war,” and “get your hands off our lands” could be heard loudly and unmistakably throughout the neighborhood during the protest, which was streamed live on the AYF Washington DC “Ani” Chapter’s Facebook page.
Community members also voiced deep concerns over continued US security assistance being sent to Azerbaijan—despite the upcoming visit to Yerevan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “US stop sending aid to Azerbaijan” was a clarion call repeated by protesters.
In a feeble retort, Azeri Embassy staff gathered outside to try to pull down posters on and near the fence and belligerently heckle protesters. The embassy staff also blasted music and even engaged their siren system in a failed attempt to drown out the chants of protesters.
Near the end of the demonstration, the crowd heard remarks from AYF Eastern Region Central Executive vice chair Aram Balian, who read the joint statement from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern Region and AYF Eastern Region, imploring Armenians in Washington, DC and around the world to stand up for their homeland. “We must snap out of our stupor and take action,” he implored. “We must make our voices heard in our communities, across the world. We must make our voices heard in every country, every state, every country, every city where there is even one Armenian.”
Great and very important article!
Incomplete story… That Azeri dude actually threatened to rape a young woman. Go after him: urge your representatives to move to declare him persona non grata. He cant threaten anyone on this land with physical harm. Show him business. Dont just yell. We’ve been doing that for years. Where has it gotten us?