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 Thursday, February 22 2024 17:55
Marianna Mkrtchyan

In commemoration of Baku and Sumgait pogroms, protest to be held  outside Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington on February 25

In commemoration of Baku and Sumgait pogroms, protest to be held  outside Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington on February 25

ArmInfo. "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, the AYF's press release reads.

"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" the source notes.

In response to the desire of the Armenians of Artsakh  (Nagorno-Karabakh) to realize their right to self- determination, a  wave of Armenian pogroms swept across Azerbaijan, accompanied by  murders, violence and robberies of unprecedented cruelty.

The first victims of Azerbaijan's policy of violent suppression of  the free will of the people of Nagorno- Karabakh were the Armenians  of Sumgait, an Azerbaijani city located several hundred kilometers  from Nagorno-Karabakh. The massacre in Sumgayit lasted three days,  from February 27 to 29, 1988.

In November 1988, the second wave of Armenian pogroms began in  Azerbaijan; the largest of them were in Kirovabad, Shemakha,  Shamkhor, and Mingachevir. During the same period, in  November-December 1988, residents of 50 Armenian settlements of  northern Artsakh - the mountainous and foothill parts of the Khanlar,  Dashkesan, Shamkhor and Gadabek regions, as well as the 48 thousand  Armenian population of Kirovabad (Gandzak) were also deported.

The massacres and final deportation of the Armenians of Baku in  January 1990 were the culmination of the persecution, violence,  pogroms and murders of the Armenian population in Azerbaijan in  1988-1990. They were illegally fired from their jobs and forcibly  evicted from apartments and houses. There were beatings, public  mockery and murder of Armenians. By January 1990, out of the 250  thousand Armenian population, about 35-40 thousand Armenians remained  in Baku. For the most part, these were elderly, lonely, sick or  low-income people who did not want or were unable to leave, as well  as their relatives who did not want to leave. 

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