By Hagop Vartivarian
NEW YORK — After a long absence, for the first time, the two traditional political organizations, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADLP), organized a joint march and meeting on April 24. Young protestors, in quest of justice, assembled at the Diocesan headquarters, St. Vartan Cathedral, and St. Illuminator Cathedral, where the Divine Liturgy was performed along with a special service dedicated to the canonization of the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide as saints.
Directed by the ADLP leadership at St. Vartan Cathedral (34th Street) and the ARF at St. Illuminator Cathedral (27th Street), the youth began walking, and the two groups united at Third Avenue to form a joint march led by Prelate Oshagan Choloyan, Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Very Rev. Papken Anoushian, and other clergy from the diocese and prelacy, and officials of the two political parties. The scouts of the Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts (HOMENETMEN) led the march, carrying the flags of the US, Armenia, and the two Armenian political parties, through the streets of New York. The marchers, who were as many as 3,000, firmly carried placards prepared for the occasion bearing slogans and chanting, under the supervision of the youth of the Armenian Youth Federation.
The protestors gathered at the intersection next to the Turkish consulate and through their orderly expressions of protest attracted the attention of the inhabitants of this great city. After the singing of the American and Armenian anthems, our youth, inspired by patriotic songs, continued to present its just demands while, on the opposite sidewalk around ten Turks who had raised the Turkish flag attempted to also become an object of attention. A Turkish youth attacked an Armenian protestor and injured him. The police arrested the attacker and took him to the police station, while the wounded Armenian was taken to the hospital. Even in the 21st century, there are still Turks continuing to resort to violence against Armenians.
The Turkish consulate had been informed ahead of time that a petition would be presented to the consul. The representatives of the two political parties, together with the scouts, delivered the envelope to a representative of the consulate.
Meanwhile the protestors, lying down on the boulevard, displayed pictures of our martyrs on their placards, moving spectators.
Valod Atakhanian, chairman of New York’s Armen Garo Committee, spoke in the name of the ARF, and Norair Meguerditchian, chairman of New York-New Jersey’s Armenagan-Housepian Chapter, in the name of the ADLP. Afterwards, the Lord’s Prayer was chanted in Armenian led by the clergy.
The youth swore once more that they would continue to strive to regain our rights and our usurped lands.
(Translated from the Armenian)
By Hagop Vartivarian