(From Yerevan).- It was not another Sunday in Yerevan. Around noon the Republic Square It looked almost empty: only occasional passers-by and a few policemen could be seen, a stage set up the night before, and the Armenian flag flying above the seat of government. With the passing of the hours in the downtown area the movement was increasing, but it was possible to walk with total normality and enjoy, under a defenseless sun, the benefits that this thousand-year-old city offers. Only a few intrusive clouds prevented us from fully appreciating the mount ararat, on which the city is located. A city extremely rich in history and architecture, in which the Soviet heritage is indisguisable but also its modern touch.
After 8:00 p.m., the sun had already gone, the threatening rain had lasted for a breath, and the Republic Square was packed with people. Thousands of people, mostly young and middle-aged, gathered like every year to participate in the March of the Torches the night before April 24, the day on which the 108th anniversary of the Armenian genocide is commemorated.
In the environment the climate of respect was perceived. Despite the large number of people, practically the only thing that could be heard were the speeches of the young people who went up on stage to remember the victims and some drums in the background. The rest listened attentively; and those who were in a group tried to talk to each other but in a low voice, without disturbing the moment. Many carried Armenian flags – those of nations that recognized the Armenian genocide were also seen – while others came with flowers and candles.
“The law is the only force,” read a banner carried by a group of young people. It is that this year’s speeches were also impacted by the humanitarian drama that the population of Nagorno Karabakh as a consequence of the blockade imposed by Azerbaijan more than four months ago.
Just over an hour later, the massive congregation set off towards the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial, dedicated to the victims of the genocide suffered by the Armenian people from 1915 to 1923. In a few minutes Amiryan Street turned into a sea of people marching with their torches, flags, candles and flowers.
As every year, thousands of Armenians marched the almost three kilometers that separate the Republic Square from the Memorial on the night of April 23 to leave their offerings to the victims and hold a minute of silence. There the official commemoration will continue on Monday to remember the million and a half people who were exterminated by the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey).
It is estimated that every year close to a million Armenians are mobilized throughout the day. That is, just over a third of the total population of the country, estimated at almost 2.8 million inhabitants.
This April 24 is, without a doubt, the most important day of the year for the country. This date is so significant and painful that the commemoration events also have an international scope. Armenian communities abroad are also organizing to remember and honor. In the previous days, events were carried out in different parts of the world such as Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico and Spain.among others.
This Monday Armenia commemorates a new anniversary of the genocide in the midst of a conflict that has been unresolved for months and is increasing tension in the South Caucasus. The Armenian Foreign Ministry denounced last week that the president of Azerbaija, Ilham Aliev, is planning an ethnic cleansing in the territory of Nagorno Karabagh, whose inhabitants have been trying to survive for months with a blockade that has led to alarming shortages of food, energy and medicine. Meanwhile, Baku does not budge from its permanent threat: either they adopt Azerbaijani citizenship or they must leave the region.
Tension in Nagorno Karabakh: Armenia reported the death of four soldiers after an attack by Azerbaijani forces
Russia accused Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire in Nagorno Karabagh
Armenia delivered to Azerbaijan its draft of a peace agreement on Nagorno Karabakh