Armenian protesters clashed with police outside the Turkish Consulate in downtown Thessaloniki on Monday evening. The tension started when a group of Armenian youth attempted to hang a memo at the entrance of the consulate.
Greek authorities did not allow that, the angry protesters freaked out throwing objects to police, riot police squads tried to restore law and order by firing tear gas.
Members of the Armenian National Committee march in Thessaloniki and capital Athens to mark the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey, where 1,500,000 people were exterminated in 1915 by the Ottoman Empire.
In Athens, community members carried a huge flag through the streets and chanted “fight-victory-vindication,” but also slogans against the Turkish government.
Protesters marched to the Turkish embassy to hand out their memo to the Turkish ambassador. However, riot police did not allow them to come close than 300 meters away.
“We focus not only at the recognition of the Armenian genocide but also on reparations to be paid by the Turkish government,” chairman ANC Committee Chairman Serko Kouyoumtzian told Greek media. “We claim restorations for the damages of human lives, our lands, our properties.” he added.
Armenians demand from Turkey:
– The recognition and condemnation of the genocide of 1,500,000 Armenians in 1915 and the claim of the responsibilities.
– The return of the occupied historical Armenian lands, to their legitimate beneficiary, the Armenian people.
– The return of urban and ecclesiastical properties.
– To immediately lift the blockade imposed on the Republic of Armenia.
– To stop the unjustified support of Azerbaijan at political, military and economic levels and contribute to the initiatives to find a definitive, just and viable solution to the Nagorno Karabakh issue.
Commemoration rallies were also held in many cities, from Istanbul, Beirut and Paris to Ottawa and Los Angeles, which is home to one of the largest Armenian communities outside Armenia. Protesters demanded Turkish authorities stop their denial of the genocide.
“Wherever there are Armenians, there will be this ceremony,” said Aram Karadaghlian, 31, one of the Beirut event’s organizers.”It’s a duty. They come show respect and appreciation.”
Armenian civilians, escorted by Ottoman soldiers, marched through Harput (Kharpert) to a prison in nearby Mezireh (present-day Elâzığ), April 1915.
The Armenian Genocide also known as the Armenian Holocaust, was the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, mostly Ottoman citizens within the Ottoman Empire and its successor state, the Republic of Turkey.
The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities rounded up, arrested, and deported 235 to 270 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders from Constantinople to the region of Ankara, the majority of whom were eventually murdered.
The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases:
the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly, and the infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian desert.
Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre.
The massacre is considered to have lasted until 1923.