More than 1,000 Armenian-Canadians marched from Parliament Hill to the Turkish Embassy on Wurtemburg Street to mark the 93rd anniversary of the Armenian genocide yesterday.
People came from all over Ontario and Quebec and from as far as Cambridge and St. Catharines to take part in the peaceful demonstration, which blocked off a section of Wellington and Rideau streets just after 1:30 p.m.
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“We’re here to commemorate the 93rd anniversary of the Armenian genocide,” said Armenian National Committee of Canada executive director Aris Babikian.
In 1915, 1.5 million Armenians were killed in Turkey.
“We’re also here to thank the Canadian government and the people for recognizing this anniversary, and also to remind the world that Turkey still denies that it perpetrated the genocide,” he said.
The event also spreads awareness to the younger generation, something that Babikian said is key.
Amy Chitilian, 15, attends an Armenian school in Toronto. “I come every year,” she said.
A Lebanon-born Armenian, Rita Baghdassarian attended the event with her husband and their children.
“It’s very important that they know about it,” said the Montreal resident, who has attended the march for the last 25 years. “It’s important for us to teach them not to hate, but to know the facts.”
Baghdassarian hopes that Turkey will one day recognize its involvement in the genocide.
Ottawa has “a small but vibrant” Armenian community of about 1,500 people, Babikian said.
“Events like this are vital,” said speaker Jon-Carlos Tsilfidis, director of public relations with the Pontion Community of Toronto.
“Every passing anniversary is vital for the Armenian community. My message to you is to never forget.”