AYF Washington DC protests and demands accountability of Azerbaijan on February 27th

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WASHINGTON, DC – The “Ani” chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) will lead a protest to commemorate the Azerbaijani massacres of Armenian communities in Sumgait and Baku, the precursor to the Aliyev regime’s 30-year anti-Armenian aggression that resulted in ethnic cleansing culminating in over 100,000 Armenians and the occupation of over 70 percent of Artsakh.

The protest will take place on Sunday, February 27 at 2:30 p.m. EST at the Embassy of Azerbaijan, located at 2741 34th St. NW in Washington, DC. Before the protest, there will be a special Requiem (Hokehankist) service honoring the victims of Azerbaijani pogroms in Sumgait, Kirovabad, Baku and Maragha at the Soorp Khatch Armenian Church, located at 4906 Flint Drive in Bethesda, Maryland.

“Our goal here is twofold: to honor the victims of the Sumgait and Baku pogroms 30 years ago and to illustrate to the world that hostility to the poor is a pattern embedded in the fabric of Azerbaijani national identity. We are here to protest against our reality right now: a reality in which our neighbor is actively trying to erase us from the map. It is our duty here as Armenian-Americans to continue to demand justice and to send a clear message to the US government to stop sending aid to a genocidal regime,” said Areni Margossian, Chair of AYF Washington DC “Ani “.

From 1988 to 1990, the Armenian population of Soviet Azerbaijan was the target of racially motivated pogroms against Armenians in the cities of Sumgait (27-29 February 1988), Kirovabad (21-27, 1990) and Maragha (10 April 1992).

These pogroms paved the way for three decades of Azerbaijani aggression, culminating in the 2020 44-day war in which Azerbaijan once again displayed an intense armenophobic hatred no different than in the 1980s. Despite the disastrous ceasefire agreement signed on November 9, 2020, Azerbaijan continues its tirade of aggression against Armenia and Artsakh, with the deployment of over a thousand soldiers on sovereign Armenian soil, constant cross-border attacks, and the unlawful detention and torture of over 200 Armenian prisoners of war.

Furthermore, in a thorough attempt at cultural genocide, Azerbaijan has moved to destroying significant cultural and religious artifacts of Armenia: destroying khatchkars (cross-stones), churches and Armenian tombs in an attempt to wipe out the Armenian presence on Armenian lands. Earlier this month, the Azerbaijani government announced the creation of a special commission with the specific task of demolishing Armenian cultural heritage sites in Artsakh and presenting them as of Albanian origin.

For more information about the Requiem service and protest, please contact the AYF Washington DC Ani Chapter at [email protected]

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Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is an international, non-profit youth organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF). AYF-YOARF Eastern United States is built on five pillars that guide its core activities and initiatives: Education, Hai Tahd, Social Affairs, Sports and Culture. The AYF also promotes a fraternal attitude of respect for ideas and individuals among its members. Unity and collaboration are essential qualities that enable the organization’s members to work together to achieve the goals of the AYF.

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