Tens of thousands of Armenians gathered internationally to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, in which the Ottoman Empire murdered 1.5 million Armenians.
In addition to calls for reparations, there was the unrelenting desire for Turkey to recognize the atrocity that struck so many Armenians between 1915 and 1923.
“We owe it to those who cannot speak for themselves,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said as he spoke to the crowd that gathered in New York’s Times Square. “Every time genocide occurs we say never again and we must. The Statue of Liberty stands for something, and one of the things it stands for is remembering the genocide done to the Armenian people.”
The Armenian Genocide Commemoration at Times Square was founded in 1985 by the late Sam Azadian, who himself lost four siblings during the Armenian Genocide.
The Turkish government has not recognized the Armenian genocide, and many people deny it took place. An airplane flying over New York left a message of genocide denial in the sky, referring to it as a “genolie”:
— Kamyar Jarahzadeh (@Kamyarjarah) April 20, 2016
In response, a speaker at the rally in Times Square said “Go ahead. Spread messages of Armenian genocide denial and Turkish pride across the New York skies. Those words have already faded away with the clouds. We have 1.5 million blesses justices who will shine down the truth for eternity.”
Similar messages were seen in Los Angeles on Sunday, where a coinciding rally took place on Wilshire Boulevard across from the Turkish Consulate.
Glendale is home to one of the world’s largest Armenian communities outside of Russia.
In an interview with Breitbart News during last year’s centennial march in Los Angeles, a Turkish man was asked why the Armenians were pushed out of Eastern Ottoman Turkey. He suggested the Armenians had brought the incident onto themselves. “Since 1870, a group of Armenians known as the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) had a platform [which] said that we will create so much trouble for the Ottoman government that they will attack us and then the Western powers will come to our defense.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) reportedly addressed the crowd that had gathered outside the Turkish Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard in California. According to the Los Angeles Times, he said “Today, we are all Armenian. We have one cause and that cause is justice.”
Like the centennial, which was marked the year before had a record 166,000 people making it the second largest march in L.A. history.
In Iran, protesters called upon the Turkish government to recognize the Armenian genocide as well:
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) April 24, 2016
On Friday, in Brazil, the Buenos Aires legislature approved a measure to “commemorate the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Turkish state” and “adhere to the motto ‘I Remember and Demand,'” according to the Agencia Prensa Armenia.
Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a very carefully-worded statement and declared Turkey the “most meaningful place” to commemorate the lives of “Ottoman Armenians.” According to Newsweek, Erdogan was very careful not to use the word “genocide” and reportedly referred to the victims as “Ottoman Armenians” in order to stress that the dead were “Ottoman citizens,” distancing the Turkish government from the atrocity. He added, Turks and Armenians “share this common pain.”
Ankara, Turkey’s capital, does not recognize the Armenian genocide.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz