AYF Washington DC “Ani” Chapter disrupts Azerbaijan Independence and Armed Forces Day event

AYF DC “Ani” Chapter secretary Galy Jackmakjian alerting Azerbaijani event attendees about Azerbaijan’s genocidal actions against Artsakh

WASHINGTON, DC—The Armenian Youth Federation – Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AYF-YOARF) Washington DC “Ani” Chapter organized an awareness campaign about the ongoing atrocities committed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh. The campaign took place in front of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, where the Embassy of Azerbaijan was hosting an Azerbaijan Independence and Armed Forces Day on June 1, 2023.

As invitees began collecting and entering the building for the event, AYF-YOARF DC “Ani” members gathered outside and in the lobby of the building to hand out flyers to attendees. The flyers outlined the ongoing mass atrocities being committed by Azerbaijan.

As Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh nears the six-month mark, the AYF-YOARF DC “Ani” Chapter seized this opportunity to educate the public about the reality of the armed forces of Azerbaijan and what event-goers were actually celebrating: a genocidal dictatorship, holding 120,000 Armenians of Artsakh hostage, intent on seeing the annihilation of Armenians.

While some attendees ignored the AYF members’ flyer campaign, others stopped to accept the flyers and took a moment to listen to the truth about Azerbaijan. DC “Ani” members also posted the flyers outside around the building, to maximize exposure. 

AYF DC “Ani” member Hovsep Seferian handing flyers to attendees of the Azerbaijan Independence and Armed Forces Day event

“Every little bit counts, and even though the Azeris tried to shut us down, we made sure our presence was felt and that’s what matters. The people of Artsakh need to know that we’ll be there for them under any circumstances, no matter what we’re put through,” affirmed Washington DC “Ani” member Hovsep Seferian.

The AYF has been posting flyers regarding the Artsakh crisis and ongoing Azerbaijani anti-Armenian aggression on Capitol Hill, near the White House, State Department and key locations across the nation’s capital.

Event organizers grew increasingly uncomfortable about DC “Ani” members distributing flyers inside the building and attempted to have them removed. They accused chapter members of distributing flyers that threatened the lives of Azeris. But, after the members showed the flyers to law enforcement agents, the agents allowed the DC “Ani” members to remain inside the building.

While freedom of speech and gathering may be a foreign concept to the government of Azerbaijan, it is a paramount right, upheld and protected, in the United States.

To conclude the public awareness efforts, AYF-YOARF DC “Ani” members shouted, “Artsakh is Armenia!” before exiting the building, effectively disrupting the event. This exclamation was met with obscenities hurled by event organizers at the DC “Ani” members.

“It was disturbing, but not surprising, to learn that the Azeris were celebrating their military – a military that actively deprives 120,000 Armenians from access to food and medicine by blocking the only road in and out of Artsakh. As we approach almost 200 days of Artsakh being under blockade, we had to stand up and remind event attendees of the atrocities that their military is committing against innocent civilians,” stated AYF DC “Ani” chair Nayiri Shahnazarian.

AYF DC “Ani” Chapter chair Nayiri Shahnazarian educating attendees of Azerbaijan Independence and Armed Forces Day about Aliyev’s ongoing aggression against Armenia
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.
Areni Margossian

Areni Margossian

Areni Margossian is a proud member of the AYF-YOARF Greater Washington DC "Ani" Chapter. She currently lives in Washington, DC where she works as a program officer at the American Bar Association, Rule of Law Initiative.

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