AYF to lead protest to mark 35th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian pogroms in Sumgait; demand end of Artsakh blockade

WASHINGTON, DC The Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Washington DC “Ani” Chapter will be leading a community protest to demand the end of Azerbaijan’s 70-plus day blockade of Artsakh and marking the 35th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s brutal attack on the Armenians of Sumgait and subsequent pogroms in Kirovabad, Maragha and Baku.

The protest will begin on Sunday, February 26th at 2:30 pm outside the Embassy of Azerbaijan, located at 2741 34th St. NW in Washington, DC. Posters and flags will be supplied. Participants are encouraged to bring their own flags of Armenia and Artsakh as well.

From 1988 to 1990, the Armenian residents of Sumgait, Kirovabad, Maragha and Baku were targets of Azerbaijani state-sponsored violence. Azerbaijani forces marked the homes of Armenians on maps as they hunted them like violent predators. According to news reports and eyewitness accounts, innocent Armenian civilians were mutilated and burned alive as Azerbaijanis paraded the streets and shouted, “Long live Baku without Armenians” and “Death to the Armenians.” Armenian women were publicly raped and sexually abused. Those who managed to escape death were forced to flee their homes and subjected to systematic deportation. The pogroms resulted in 500,000 Armenian refugees, while thousands were killed. The AYF has led annual Washington DC community protests marking these pogroms for decades.

AYF DC “Ani” members call on Azerbaijan to recognize massacres in Sumgait, Baku, Maragha and Kirovabad, February 27, 2022

These massacres have served as a blueprint for anti-Armenian Azerbaijani aggression for over 30 years, now manifested through the Aliyev regime’s brutal blockade of the Lachin (Berdzor) Corridor, the only road leading in and out of Artsakh. The population of Artsakh is left to ration food; stores have long been emptied of essential medicines. Azerbaijan is slowly starving the over 120,000 indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh, in the hopes of forcing them off their historic homeland.

On January 21st, the AYF led a White House protest demanding President Biden take immediate action to stop all military aid to Azerbaijan and send emergency aid to Artsakh in the face of Azerbaijan’s Artsakh blockade.

On February 2nd, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Eastern United States (ARF-Eastern US) led a Capitol Hill protest demanding Congress cut all aid to Azerbaijan and sanction Azerbaijan for ongoing war crimes. The protest coincided with pro-Artsakh advocacy days, organized by the ANCA Eastern Region, which brought hundreds of advocates from states east of the Mississippi river to demand passage of the anti-blockade resolution (H.Res.108). That legislation currently has over 70 cosponsors. Similar legislation is expected to be introduced shortly in the US Senate. Pro-Artsakh advocates are asked to contact their US Representatives and urge them to cosponsor and adopt H.Res.108.

AYF DC "Ani" Chapter

AYF DC "Ani" Chapter

Founded in 1942, the AYF Washington DC “Ani” and “Sevan” chapters work to unite Armenian youth and organize activities in the DC, Maryland and Virginia area. The chapter has a Senior ("Ani") and Junior ("Sevan") chapter. The Washington DC “Ani” chapter sets out to achieve its goals and objectives throughout the year and hosts events like joint meetings between DMV juniors and juniors in Armenia, protests and other forms of political activism, an annual chapter anniversary dinner and fundraisers to benefit the homeland. The AYF-YOARF's five pillars (athletic, cultural educational, political, social) guide the chapter and help keep its membership active and at the forefront of the Armenian cause at all times.

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