Armenians in France protest in a support movement for Karabakh Armenians
Thousand of people took to the street towards a square behind France’s National Assembly in Paris chanting “Hayastan_ Armenia”, in a support movement for Karabakh’s Armenians.
The protesters also held placards that read “Recognize Karabakh” and waved Armenia’s flag or draped it over their bodies.
The protesters are gathering on a Tuesday afternoon to demand France support Armenia in the conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. After all, France harbors western Europe’s biggest Armenian diaspora with up to 600,000 members.
But, for now, Paris is showing restraint in its support for the Armenian side — at least when it comes to actions.
“This is a cry from the bottom of our heart,” Franck Papazian yells into a microphone, addressing the crowd that has since swelled into several hundred people. He is co-president of the Coordination Committee of Armenian Organizations in France (CCAF), which organized the demonstration in Paris and a dozen others across the country in recent weeks.
“We can’t just let this massacre happen — we need peacekeepers in the region!” he pleads.
“Please, we are asking you. You won’t be able to say afterward that you didn’t know what was happening.”
Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron, who is co-president of the OSCE Minsk Group, has pleaded for an immediate ceasefire in the region.
The organization was set up in 1992 to mediate in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and is also co-chaired by the US and Russia.
The ethnically Armenian region belongs to Azerbaijan but has been controlled by Armenians since the 1990s. Several hundreds of people have been killed in the recent fighting, while tens of thousands have been displaced, according to local officials.