Protest interrupts speach of Armenian Genocide denier in Chicago

On Monday night, members of the University of Chicago’s Armenian Circle and supporters staged a protest at an International House (I-House) lecture by a scholar denies the Armenian Genocide, The Chicago Maroon reports.

University of Louisville professor Justin McCarthy spoke at the I-House Assembly Hall about his most recent book, Turks and Armenians: Nationalism and Conflict in the Ottoman Empire. McCarthy has been accused of Armenian Genocide denialism by organizations including the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS). McCarthy argues that the events others call genocide were part of a civil war between the Ottoman Empire and Armenian rebels during World War I.

Before the event, members of the Armenian Circle standing outside I-House passed out flyers condemning the event. One part of the flyer noted that the event, which was sponsored by the Turkish American Cultural Alliance (TACA) and the Turkish Consulate General in Chicago, was scheduled for the day after Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day (April 24).

During the first minutes of McCarthy’s speech, protesters filling the second and third rows, including members of the Armenian Circle, Students for Justice in Palestine, and the Hellenic Students Association, placed red tape over their mouths before standing and turning to face the audience, prompting some applause. McCarthy and various members of the audience began asking the protesters to sit down on the grounds that they were blocking the audience’s view of the stage, though other audience members shouted out that they could still see and hear the presentation.

After the protesters refused to sit, I-House staff intervened, at which point the protesters walked out of the Assembly Hall, joined by other attendees, to further applause.

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