YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Hundreds of thousands of people silently marched to a hilltop memorial in the annual remembrance of some 1.5 million fellow Armenians slaughtered by Ottoman Turks.
An incessant stream of people passed through the Tsitsernakabert Memorial to the Genocide victims throughout the day, laying flowers by its eternal fire surrounded by 12 inward-bending basalt columns.
The day-long procession began in the morning after a traditional prayer service held there by the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos Karekin II, in the presence of President Serge Sargisian and other top state officials.
The stark memorial, perched on Tsitsernakabert Hill overlooking central Yerevan, is the focal point of the annual Genocide commemorations in Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora communities around the world.
“The Ottoman Empire implemented at the state level the program of elimination and expulsion of the Armenian people,” Sargisian said in a traditional written address to the nation issued on the occasion.
“Throughout the process, at its every stage the murders, deportations, conversions and enslavement of the Armenians were viewed as routine trifles,” he said. “As for foreign interventions, they failed to stop the perpetrators and in some instances pushed them towards even more gruesome acts.”