Ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Australia have shared their heartbreak and frustration at the recurring dispute between the two countries as they took to the streets to hear their side of the storey.
The Australian Armenians held a rally in Sydney on Saturday afternoon calling on the Australian Government to condemn the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.
The area is internationally known as part of Azerbaijan but is inhabited by ethnic Armenians and has been the centre of recent violence described as the worst outbreak in more than 25 years.
Demonstrators marched through the City CBD, calling on world leaders, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to condemn the assaults on Armenians by Turkish and Azerbaijani forces.
The rally could take place after the NSW government relaxed the limits on COVID-19 this week, allowing 500 protesters to gather in public protests.
The Armenian community protest for peace in Nagorno-Karabakh was allowed to go ahead as the NSW government this week changed COVID-19 restrictions. Now 500 people can gather for a public protest. @SBSNews pic.twitter.com/x6pFmAOrUp
— Lucy Murray (@lucymurraynews) October 24, 2020
“I am emotional, because like I said, it is not just a piece of land, for Azerbaijan it is just territory, but for us it is out heritage, it is our absolute existence,” one protester, Melanie Tchakmadjian, told SBS News.
Armenian National Committee of Australia Executive Director, Haig Kayserian, urged Australia to “act with humanity” on the issue.
“Australia cannot remain silent and sit on the fence while Armenians are being murdered and their homeland is being ripped apart. It must act with the same humanity and resolve as it did when it came to the aid of survivors of the Armenian Genocide a century ago.”