Armenians mark centennial of massacre with peaceful protest

Take note – story published 9 years and 2 months ago

Latvia’s Armenian community gathered for a moment of silent mourning at their stone cross in Old Town Riga for the hundredth anniversary of the genocide against their people. Afterwards the Armenians living in Latvia marched with their posters and national flags to the Embassy of Turkey, thus expressing their protest against the mass killing of their coutnrymen a century ago and Latvia’s unwillingness to officially recognize the event.

The hachkar, or stone cross made of reddish brown volcanic rock was the gathering point at Bastejkalns for Armenians living and working in Latvia. They have families and children, many run restaurants or cafes or similar businesses. But today they are united by the pain in their hearts over what their people lived through a hundred years ago, when close to one and a half million Armenians died while millions more fled their homeland to other states around the world.

Though many other nations have condemned the genocide, including Lithuania, Russia, Poland, Germany, France, Canada and others, Latvia has not acknowledged the Armenian genocide officially.

However Latvian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica stressed that Latvia has always mentioned the victims of the massacres. She said that Latvia, from its experience, knows how difficult it can be to achieve a common interpretation of historical facts and urged Turkey and Armenia to find a way to at least begin diplomatic relations.

On his part, deputy speaker of the Saeima Gundars Daudze was in Armenia to take part in the memorial events as well as a forum discussion on the question while meeting with members of Armenia’s National Assembly to discuss progress on the Eastern Partnership ahead of the May Summit.


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