Washington D.C. AYF “Ani” Chapter announces protest and commemoration of Baku-Sumgait in wake of genocide in Artsakh

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In commemoration of the Baku and Sumgait pogroms, the executive of the Washington D.C. “Ani” Chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) has announced that it will hold a protest outside the Embassy of Azerbaijan on Sunday, February 25, at 2 p.m. As this is one of the first major actions since the government of Azerbaijan committed genocide against the indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), the Armenian community of the Washington D.C. region, along with its allies, are encouraging a large turnout.

“The AYF will always be at the forefront of the movement to defend our homeland and our people,” stated AYF D.C. “Ani” Chapter chair Galy Jackmakjian. “The massacres of Armenians by Azeri authorities at Baku and Sumgait decades ago were just the tip of an iceberg that has continued to threaten the Armenian nation – not just in Artsakh but everywhere.”

The Baku and Sumgait pogroms were massacres of Armenians, then living in the Azerbaijani SSR, by Azeri authorities in retaliation for demands for self-governance of the historically Armenian region of Artsakh. According to contemporary accounts, innocent Armenian civilians were mutilated and burned alive as Azerbaijanis paraded through the streets shouting, “Long live Baku without Armenians” and “Death to the Armenians.”

The demands for self-determination were repeatedly denied by Azeri authorities, eventually culminating in the recent forced exodus of the entire region’s indigenous inhabitants to the Republic of Armenia last September. Altogether, the pogroms and wars that followed resulted in hundreds of thousands of Armenian refugees and thousands more killed.

“This is an ongoing genocide that hasn’t stopped since 1915,” said Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Washington D.C. chair Matthew Girardi. “By denying the Armenian Genocide of 1915 for decades, sending arms to Turkey and Azerbaijan and failing to sanction the Azeri government, our government betrays its stated values of freedom and justice for all. Instead, this complicity is encouraging further genocide and authoritarian aggression.”

The AYF, in addition to commemorating the Baku and Sumgait pogroms, is immediately calling on Congress to end all aid to Azerbaijan, sanction the Aliyev regime for its repeated crimes against humanity, expand U.S. aid to Artsakh genocide survivors and ensure the dignity, safe right of return and self-determination for the people of Artsakh.

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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