March in London to remember the Armenian Genocide

Armenians marched through London to lay wreaths and for memorial service in Westminster at the start of a week of events marking the 98th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, when Turkish attacks between 1915 and 1923 killed 1.5 million Armenians.

Hundreds of Armenians joined in the procession through London, led by Armenian scouts – male and female – carrying flags and 3 wreaths. Many had large placards about the Armenian genocide and demanding that Turkey recognize it – as a condition of entry into the EU. They also demand that the UK government should recognize it and that it should be taught on the national curriculum.

Some carried a placard with a picture of Hrant Dink (1954-2007), described as ‘The 1,500,001st Victim of The Armenian Genocide’. The former editor of the Istanbul Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, he was prosecuted under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code which makes it a crime to publicly denigrate the Turkish government, republic or nation. After having received many death threats he was assassinated by a 17 year old Turkish Nationalist in January 2007.

The procession started on Oxford St and then turned down Regent St, walking past Piccadilly Circus into Haymarket and on to Trafalgar Square before turning down Whitehall where it ended with a ceremony at the Cenotaph where the 3 wreaths remembering the Armenian Genocide, from the Armenian Embassy, from the Armenian Community & Church Council, and from the UK Diocese of the Armenian Orthodox Church, were laid by Bishop Vahan Hovhannesian, Primate of the Armenian Orthodox Church in the UK & Ireland and others.

After several short speeches and prayers the Armenians moved onto the pavement. I left them there before they walked the short distance to St Margaret’s Church beside Westminster Abbey, where HG Bishop Vahan Hovhanessia was to lead a memorial service a Memorial service.

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