Genocide Denied, Genocide Repeated: Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Communities Participate in Annual Sydney March For Justice

By ANC-AU | Friday, 12 May 2023

SYDNEY: On Sunday, 23rd April 2023, Sydney’s Armenian, Assyrian and Greek communities took to the streets of the bustling city centre to call on the Australian Government, led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, to officially recognise the 1915 massacres as Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).

This year’s march was once again conducted under the auspices of the Joint Justice Initiative, a coalition of the peak public affairs bodies of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek communities in Australia, and organised by the March For Justice committee made up of some of the largest Armenian-Australian community organisations in New South Wales.

Around 1,000 members of the Armenian-Australian, Assyrian-Australian and Greek-Australian communities brought many of the CBD's marquee streets to a standstill, one day before the statements from Australia’s Prime Minister and Opposition Leader on the Armenian Genocide were delivered.

This year’s march began at the iconic Hyde Park Fountain, led by the Homenetmen Australia Marching Band, scouts and a delegation of community and religious leaders. The over two-kilometre march concluded at Customs House, across from the famous Circular Quay.

Demonstrators participated in a program that involved chanting, speeches, cultural performances, and concluded with a prayer from all present clergy.

Led by the Master of Ceremonies Nanor Shokayan, the program included several speeches from the torchbearers of the Armenian-Australian cause, the community’s youth, including Areni Kortian (Armenian Youth Federation of Australia), Hrag Bedrosian (Armenian Youth Federation of Australia - Juniors) and Misak Pamboukian (Homenetmen Australia Scouts).

Haykuhi Movsisyan from the Hamazkaine Sassoun Armenian Sydney Dance Ensemble also performed for the many gathered at Customs House.

The annual March For Justice concluded with a powerful advocacy address delivered by ANC-AU Executive Director, Michael Kolokossian and a prayer led by clergy.

Kolokossian said: “Our three communities have sent a loud and clear message to the Australian Government - a genocide denied is a genocide repeated. We can see all too well that Azerbaijan and Turkey are trying to finish off what their ancestors started in 1915, in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), in Cyprus and in Syria. Our communities stand against all genocides and genocide-denying regimes and governments.”

“The government of our great nation must stand on the side of truth and justice, with our allies, in recognising what was a historical fact. Only by recognition of past crimes can we prevent future atrocities,” added Kolokossian.