WASHINGTON — Hundreds of demonstrators chanted “break the blockade!” on Capitol Hill this past week as Armenian Americans from around the nation gathered to push support for the Artsakh Republic (Nagorno-Karabakh) after the closing of the Lachin Corridor, the only access and egress between Artsakh and Armenia left under the terms of the ceasefire agreement of 2020 after the 44-Day War started by Azerbaijan’s invasion of Artsakh.
Members of the Eastern Region of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and other Armenians met with members of the House and Senate explaining the situation in Artsakh specifically and the immediate nature of the people’s condition and the need to act before things get worse. They called on them to pass legislation cutting all aid to Azerbaijan to pressure its president, Ilham Aliyev, to lift the blockade. Much of the military aid has been used against Artsakh and Armenia during and after the 2020, 44 day war and continues in the present.
On the second day of advocacy, February 2, more Armenian Americans arrived, calling on Congress to pass the bi-partisan resolution that had been introduced to the Congress condemning Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh, authored by Reps. Pallone, Sherman, and the Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs to not only condemn Azerbaijan’s blockade, but also investigate war crimes, enforce 907, and cut US military aid to Azerbaijan, providing necessary humanitarian relief and aide to the suffering 120,000 or more people of Artsakh.
The assembled then held a demonstration on the Capitol Grounds with several speakers including Representatives Adam Schiff of California, and Frank Pallone of New Jersey. Schiff told the demonstrators that the people of Artsakh have a right to self-determination and that not a dime or even a single red cent of American money or support should go to the “Butcher of Baku,” Aliyev, or to Azerbaijan!
Pallone, one of the co-authors of the resolution, similarly added his voice to Schiff’s. According to the ANCA website, he said, “One of the things that we do at the Armenian Caucus is meet with the State Department and put as much pressure as possible on them to pressure Azerbaijan to stop the blockade. We know that Aliyev wants all of the Armenians out of Artsakh. We know that this is a form of genocide. There is no question about it. We know that all of the excuses being used about environmentalists are just nonsense… We cannot have any peace as long as there is a threat to the people of Artsakh. Artsakh is Armenian. Artsakh must remain Armenian,” stated Rep. Pallone.
More protest demonstrations have taken place around the world by Armenians and their allies, and are schedule in the immediate future until the blockade is broken and the people of the tiny Republic of Artsakh are relieved of their suffering.