EVENTS MARKING ARMENIAN GENOCIDE HELD IN GREECE

Athens News Agency
April 26, 2009 Sunday
Greece

Events marking the 94th anniversary since the Armenian genocide were
held in Athens and the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Sunday.

At the event in Athens, speakers commemmorated the slaughter of 1.5
million Armenians at the hands of Turks, while some criticised the
stance of Greek police during Friday's march by the Armenian community
in Athens to the Turkish Embassy.

The event was then addressed by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos,
who represented the government and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. He
apologised on behalf of the police for Friday's incidents and stressed
that Greece, under all governments, was and would remain at the side
of the Armenian people's struggle.

quot;There were no 'orders from above'. It was just a bad moment for
which I publicly apologise,quot; he said.

He stressed that even today, nothing could be taken for granted and
that the struggle for peace and freedom had to be constant.

Other speakers at the Athens event included Parliament vice-president
Anastasios Nerantzis and representatives of all the Greek political
parties, armed forces, police, Church, local government and diplomats.

It ended with a video and traditional Armenian songs, followed by a
march to Syntagma Square and the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of
the Unknown Soldier.

The Thessaloniki event at the Vellidi Conference Centre was attended
by Deputy Interior Minister Constantine Gioulekas, who stressed the
bonds of friendship between Greeks and Armenians and said that the
Armenian struggle for the recognition of their genocide struck a
chord with Greeks, who had experienced the genocide of Pontians and
the Greeks of Asia Minor.

The event, followed by the laying of a wreath at the 3rd Army
Corps monument, was also attended by local authority officials in
Thessaloniki, representatives of Armenian associations and Greek MPs.