Protest against Turkish Denial
TBILISI, Georgia (A.W.)—Tbilisi Armenians held a protest in Avlabari (Havlabar)—long known as the center of Armenian life in the city—demanding justice for the Armenian Genocide. Though the protest was originally scheduled to take place in front of the Turkish Embassy, the Armenian community of Georgia released a statement on April 23, noting that the protest had been moved considering the “tense and complicated situation” in the region.
“After taking into consideration the Georgian authorities’ concern and caution, and in order to avoid provocations, the Armenian community of Georgia has decided to refrain from holding the traditional April 24 protest in front of the Turkish Embassy. This year, as an exception, the protest will take place in Havlabar, near the St. Etchmiadzin Armenian church,” read a part of the statement.
“Do not lose hope. Us being here is an exception, this year. And by standing here, we show the authorities of this country [Georgia] that we do not want to wish to complicate and intensify the situation. They must also know, however, that we will continue to gather at the Turkish Embassy, at the Georgian Parliament, and anywhere else that the Armenian Genocide continues to be denied—next year, the following year, and always,” said Sandro Ohanyan, member of the Armenian Community of Georgia council, who addressed the crowd in Armenian and Georgian.
On April 22, Georgian border guards refused entry to a group of Azerbaijani nationalists, who were reportedly planning on holding a rally in front of the Armenian Embassy in Tbilisi, reported Armenia’s Yerkir news service.
Armenian Genocide Remembered in Javakhk
Protests and commemorations also took place across Javakhk on April 23-24. Protesters held torch-lit marches in Akhalkalak and Akhaltskha on April 23, during which they held banners demanding recognition and justice for the Armenian Genocide. The marches were organized by the Zori Zorian Youth Organization of Georgia, reported Akhaltskha.net.
On the same say, the Armenian community of Javakhk gathered at the Akhaltskha Armenian Youth Educational Center and held an event dedicated to the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the memory of soldiers who died in the recent large-scale Azerbaijani military aggression in the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR/Artsakh).
On April 24, Akhaltskha Mayor Giorgi Kopadze joined the Armenian community, who gathered at the memorial khatchkar (cross-stone), and along with other municipal representatives, laid flowers in memory of the victims of the genocide. The community held a march to the memorial site from the St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of Akhaltskha, during which they called for recognition of the Armenian Genocide from both Turkey and Georgia, according to Akhaltskha.net.
On April 14, Armenian Member of Georgia’s Parliament Samvel Petrosyan called on Georgian authorities to recognize and condemn the Armenian Genocide, reported Public Radio of Armenia.
“The genocide of Armenians has been recognized by many international organizations and states. We, as a democratic country, must acknowledge that fact, at least because the Ottoman Empire has occupied Georgian lands, as well. I’m sure that had the Armenian Genocide been condemned at the time, such crimes would not reoccur in different parts of the world. I urge everyone to recognize and condemn the genocide and thus, restore historical justice,” Petrosyan said, reported Georgia’s Gruzia news service.
Below is video footage from the protest march in Akhaltskha.
Source: Armenian Weekly