French-Armenian commemorators (photo Jean Eckian)

April 24 in Paris

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PARIS — Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Alfortville, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Avignon, Valence, Clichy, Meudon, Antony and other towns in France with Armenian inhabitants, such as the city of Lusignan, commemorated the 107th year of the denied Armenian genocide by Turkey on April 24.

This particular day, despite the election for the presidency of the French Republic, brought together more than 20,000 supporters of the Armenian cause. In particular, the fourth-generation youth came out in numbers, invested with the same ideals as their parents and grandparents for the recognition of the crime perpetrated by order of the Young Turks on the innocent Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire.

Ambassador Hasmik Tolmajian, left, with Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo (photo Jean Eckian)

Three days were needed for the tribute paid to the victims of 1915 after two years without commemoration due to the Covid health crisis. Thus, in Paris, on April 22, Mayor Anne Hidalgo received in the halls of the Hôtel de Ville, the Armenians of the Paris region. She told the Ambassador of Armenia in France, Hasmik Tolmajian and the representatives of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations of France (CCAF), represented by Ara Toranian and Mourad Papazian, that she wanted to pass a law on criminalization Genocide denial, because, she said, “we can’t pretend this story didn’t exist.”

The delegation of 30 eminent French and Armenian personalities marched up the famous Avenue des Champs Elysées (photo Jean Eckian)

On April 23, a delegation of 30 eminent French and Armenian personalities marched up the famous Avenue des Champs Elysées to lay wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in tribute to the Armenians who died for France during the two world wars of the twentieth century and for the victims of the massacres of 1895, 1909 and the genocide of 1915. This ceremony, observed by Parisians and tourists, was organized by the National Association of Armenian Veterans and Resistants (ANACRA), led by Antoine Bagdikian and with the participation of the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations in France (CCAF).

The delegation of 30 eminent French and Armenian personalities marched up the famous Avenue des Champs Elysées (photo Jean Eckian)

On April 24, 5,000 young Franco-Armenians gathered at the Parisian nerve center of the community, Esplanade d’Arménie, in the presence of many personalities and elected officials of the French Republic, including government spokesman Gabriel Attal.

At the Esplanade d’Arménie, in the presence of many personalities and elected officials of the French Republic, including government spokesperson Gabriel Attal, fifth from left (photo Jean Eckian)

Once again the co-presidents of the CCAF, thanking the personalities present for their presence, castigated the Erdogan-Aliyev couple, denouncing “This unbearable historical cycle, of which we are undergoing the endless repetition which is based, among its multiple causes, on an aggravating factor that will have to be dealt with one day,” in the words of Toranian. Papazian pointed to a Turkey which cheerfully assumes its negationism, he said, “because Erdogan is the heir of Talaat. Erdogan is the proponent of neo-Ottomanism. He wants to restore the omnipotence of Turkey.”

Murad Papazian, left, and Ara Toranian (photo Jean Eckian)

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Valérie Pécresse, president of the Ile-de-France region, recalled that the Regional Council has recognized the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh and will work to “expand its cooperation with Yerevan and launch a program to protect historical and religious heritage with partnership of UNESCO.”

Valérie Pécresse, President of the Ile-de-France region, speaking (photo Jean Eckian)

Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, friend of the Armenian community, announced an upcoming trip to Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh, as Valérie Pécresse did last December.

Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo at the podium (photo Jean Eckian)

After the speeches, a procession of 5,000 participants formed for a march that ended in front of the Jardins du Trocadéro, facing the famous Eiffel Tower.

A procession of 5,000 participants marched to the Jardins du Trocadéro, facing the famous Eiffel Tower (photo Jean Eckian)

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