Over 800 Protest For Justice, Oppose Armenia-Turkey Protocols


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September 23, 2009

NEW YORK, N.Y.-Over 800 people turned out for the "Protest for Justice"
organized by the Armenian Youth Federation-YOARF Eastern Region USA
on Sat., Sept. 19 in front of Armenia’s Permanent Mission to the
United Nations.

Displaying Armenian flags and signs protesting the announced
protocols for diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia, the
crowd chanted slogans in support of the independence of Artsakh
(Karabagh), recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey, and
reparations and the restitution of land. "Justice Not Protocols"
was the resounding message.

"We came in the name of justice. The protocols ask Armenia and the
Armenian nation to give up on what is rightfully theirs, what was
taken away from them during the genocide. These protocols are not
only a step backwards for the Armenian nation but also set a dangerous
precedent at the international stage," said Lauren DaSilva, the chair
of the AYF-YOARF Eastern USA Central Executive.

The protocols are the latest manifestation of a continuing Turkish
genocidal policy towards the Armenian nation. It is clear that Turkey,
which imposes an illegal blockade and whose geographic existence
and economic prosperity were founded on the losses of the Armenians,
is using its advantage to convince the Armenian state to concede any
possibility of restorative justice.

These concessions go beyond the authority of the Armenian government,
which has no legitimate right to speak on behalf of the eight million
Diasporan Armenians. Worse, discussions on normalization were held
secretly, in the dark, with no participation from the citizens
of Armenia. Furthermore, unlike Armenia’s concessions, Turkey’s
"concessions" are deferred, reversible, and vaguely worded.

"I am absolutely disgusted with the foreign policy of the
Sargsyan-Nalbandian regime," said Hrag Arakelian, a member of the
Chicago "Ararat" Chapter Executive. "They have either sold out on the
Armenian Cause for their own personal interest or are just incapable
of making sound policy decisions."

Coming from as far away as Racine and Chicago, people of all ages
boarded buses early in the morning from Boston, Providence, Worcester,
Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. to participate.

The protest began with the singing of "Mer Hairenik" by Nina
Froundjian. Dikran Khaligian then led a program that included speeches
by Lauren Da Silva on behalf of the Central Executive of the AYF,
Antranig Kasbarian and George Aghjayan on behalf of the Central
Committee of the ARF Eastern USA, as well as Mourad Topalian, Levon
Attarian, Hovig Charchaflian, and Hrag Arakelian.

The rally ended with the symbolic presentation of a letter to the
Armenian mission from the AYF on behalf of the "Protest for Justice,"
reprinted below.

For more information, visit justicenotprotocols.com.


Ambassador Garen Nazarian Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United
Nations 119 East 36th Street New York, NY 10016

We have come here today, from Massachusetts to Florida, from Chicago
to Philadelphia, to demand justice.

For centuries, Armenian people have lived in servitude to
Turkey. However, the normalization of relations between Turkey and
Armenia must be based on equality, not capitulation.

The independence of Artsakh must be guaranteed. The Armenian Genocide
must be accepted by the Turkish government as a crime against humanity
with justice requiring reparations and the restitution of land.

These demands are non-negotiable.

The announced protocols aim to extinguish the rights of Armenians
everywhere. We find this unacceptable. In the name of our ancestors
who sacrificed so much and generations yet to come, we demand Justice
Not Protocols.

AYF Protest for Justice Sept. 19, 2009