Armenian Genocide #MARCHFORJUSTICE Takes Over Sydney [VIDEOS]

By | Tuesday, 30 April 2019

SYDNEY: Around 2,000 Sydney Armenians marched in the centre of Sydney to call on the government of Australia to recognise the Armenian Genocide and justice for the Armenian Genocide by the denialist Republic of Turkey. A special focus, which also attracted mass media attention, was the community's condemnation of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's backflip on Armenian Genocide recognition.

The March for Justice was led by the Homenetmen Australia Scouts Marching Band, community leaders and clergy, as well as members from Armenian-Australian youth, relief, sporting, scouting, cultural and political organisations, and students of Armenian schools and university associations. New South Wales State Parliament representatives, Mr. Alister Henskens MP and Dr. Hugh McDermott MP also joined the march which began at the Hyde Park Fountain and continued along blocked-off Sydney roads through to Circular Quay for a Special Program beside the city's famous harbour.

The March for Justice attracted wider media attention than anticipated, especially because of lead-up events concerning statements from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, which offended the Armenian-Australian community. 

Earlier in the week, Armenian community leaders had refused to read Scott Morrison's letter of condolence to Armenian-Australians at a national commemoration in Sydney on April 24th marking the 104th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide; something that was widely reported by the Nine Network of newspapers (read herehere and here) and by Alan Jones of 2GB (listen here) among others.

Then, he sensationally admitted to The Sydney Morning Herald that Turkish pressure over Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli had influenced the government's position on the Armenian Genocide.

In her March for Justice remarks, Taline Megerditchian said: "The tentacles of the Turkish states influence reach far and wide. In 2011, our very own now Prime Minister Scott Morrison, stood up in parliament and  said ‘it is important that we recognise the Armenian Genocide for what it was’. This week, the Prime Minister's position had changed. Suddenly, the Prime Minister was too afraid to repeat what he knows to be true and instead tells us that 'We have been working with the Turkish government to ensure that Australians make the pilgrimage'."

"Wow," she added. "What a statement by our leader! Not only has he backflipped on his position to recognise the Armenian Genocide. The Prime Minister has just admitted to caving in to pressure from a foreign dictator. Not because there is insufficient evidence to support the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but because of threats and fear-mongering by the Turkish State of today."

Megerditchian said: "Australian foreign policy should be written by Australians, elected by Australians, and not by a foreign government. Prime Minister Morrison has slammed foreign interference in Australian politics in the past. Now it seems he has succumbed to it."

Chair of the Armenian Youth Federation of Australia (AYF-AU) Central Executive, Aram Tufenkjian opened had earlier opened proceedings with a welcome address.

The NSW Member for Ku-ring-gai, Alister Henskens also spoke as part of the Special Program.

Hugh McDermott, who is the NSW Member for Prospect delivered a powerful rebuttal to Armenian Genocide denial, and recent news of Australia's Prime Minister performing a backflip.

Kevork Vartanian delivered the Armenian keynote for the March for Justice.

AYF-AU Juniors member, Serli Boujikian also spoke in Armenian on behalf of the community's youth.

Alec Boyadjian delivered his words on behalf of young Armenian-Australians as the representative of Homenetmen Australia Scouts.

During the program, there were several cultural performances, highlighting the survival of the Armenians. The inaugural winner of The Voice Armenia, Masha Mnjoyan performed two songs, while AYF-AU's Hagop Levonian also sang and Hamazkaine Armenian Sydney Dance Company (ASDC) performed a dance.

The Sydney March for Justice was covered by SBS News, ABC Sydney Radio, 2GB Radio, the Nine Network, Canberra Times, the Newcastle Herald and a large group of news outlets syndicated to by the Australian Associated Press.

Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) Executive Director, Haig Kayserian told ABC Radio:

"This year there is added impetus, because our Prime Minister Scott Morrison has performed a backflip that would make an Olympic gymnast proud. Before being Prime Minister, he referred to the Armenian Genocide correctly and called on Australia to recognise it as such. Now, as Prime Minister, he refuses to use the word genocide, sensationally admitting that this is because of pressure from a foreign dictatorship."

"Turkey is using the graves of our ANZACs to negotiate down Australia's position on this important human rights issue. This is un-Australian and it is unacceptable," he added.

View Armenia Media's PHOTO ALBUM of the Sydney #MARCHFORJUSTICE by clicking here.