NaharNet, Lebanon
April 24 2010


Armenians in Lebanon Mark Genocide with Massive Rally


Tens of thousands of Lebanese-Armenians took to the streets of Beirut
on Saturday in a peaceful demonstration to mark the 95th anniversary
of the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman empire.

"Our demands today are the same as they have been for the past 95
years: international and Turkish acknowledgment of the genocide,"
Lebanese-Armenian State Minister Jean Ogassapian told Agence France
Presse. "We demand our rights."

Amid tight security, demonstrators including MPs of Armenian origin
blocked a main highway leading into Beirut, waving Armenian flags and
carrying banners that read: "1,500,000 Armenians massacred, but we
survived. We'll tell you the history of Turkey's atrocities."

Other banners read: "Run, Turkey, run, but you can't hide," and
"Impunity nurtures culture devoid of ethics."

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kin were systematically
killed between 1915 and 1917 as the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of
modern Turkey, was falling apart.

The events are marked every year on April 24, the date in 1915 when
Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested more than 200 Armenian
intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople.

Turkey fiercely rejects the genocide label, arguing instead that
between 300,000 and 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died
in civil strife when Armenians took up arms in eastern Anatolia and
sided with invading Russian troops.

The dispute has poisoned relations between the two neighbors for
decades, and reconciliation efforts launched last year remain frozen.

Hundreds of thousands of Armenian Christians are believed to have fled
to Lebanon after the mass killings.

Lebanon today hosts the Arab world's largest Armenian community,
estimated at around 140,000 people.(AFP)

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