Remember and Demand: Armenians mark Genocide Centennial

A march of Armenians towards Tsitsernakaberd to pay tribute to the memory of their forebears massacred in the 1915 Genocide in Ottoman Turkey began in Yerevan on Friday afternoon shortly after the completion of official procedures at the hilltop memorial attended by several world leaders.

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan hosted a solemn ceremony at the monument dedicated to the 1.5 million victims of the Ottoman-era Genocide as French President Francois Hollande, Russian President Vladimir Putin, the leaders and senior representatives of other states also paid their respects to the victims on the centennial of the massacres.

“The Armenian people will always remain standing by the side of those who suffered from crimes against humanity. The unyielding international struggle against crimes of genocide will remain an integral part of our foreign policy,” President Serzh Sargsyan said in his speech during the ceremony.

Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Armenians visited the place during the day that included also other events marking the 100th anniversary of the Genocide.

As part of this year’s commemorations, the previous night, the Armenian Apostolic Church performed the canonization of the innocent victims of the Genocide in a ceremony that was followed by 100 rings of bells of all Armenian churches around the world.

Also, a concert of the legendary System of a Down rock band took place in Yerevan’s Republic Square. The band known to have promoted the message on the Armenian Genocide reunited for the Wake Up the Souls Tour timed to the Genocide Centennial Commemoration.

Another concert was held in the Armenian capital’s Republic Square tonight, with the joint Symphony Orchestra bringing together as many as 140 musicians from 70 countries of the world performing for the public in memory of the 1915 Genocide victims.

The day’s events were to end with a torchlight procession from the city’s main square to Tsitsernakaberd.

Armenian officials say events commemorating the Genocide Centennial will not be limited to April 24 and more will be held throughout the year.