Thousands of people rallied in Yerevan’s “Freedom Square” on September 2 on the occasion of the Republic of Artsakh’s Independence Day to express their solidarity and support for Artsakh and its people, which have been facing an 8 month long blockade imposed by Azerbaijan.
The rally was organized by a coalition comprised of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary opposition parties and leaders, and included the participation of various public figures. Among the speakers at the rally were Vazgen Manukyan, the first Prime Minister of Armenia and co-founder of the Karabakh Committee, which spearheaded the original Arstakh movement in 1988.
The final speaker at the rally was ARF Supreme Body of Armenia Chairperson and Parliament Member from the “Armenia” faction Ishkhan Saghatelyan. In his remarks, Saghatelyan stated “today in Artsakh, an Armenian mother with her hungry child in her arms refuses the food offered by the enemy and declares that this struggle is a struggle for identity, a struggle for dignity, a struggle for living in the native land and for self-determination. Long live Artsakh Armenians, long live Artsakh. This rally is not an ordinary rally, this gathering has an advantage. Today, the nationwide voice of the Armenian people is very important for our future steps and actions. Today, the Diaspora clearly tell the international community, our friendly allied countries and our enemies that the agenda of surrender brought by the RA authorities is not the agenda of the Armenian people, the Armenian people reject that agenda and are ready to fight for their homeland.”
Addressing the people of Artsakh, he said that with their endurance they are writing one of the brightest pages in the recent history of the Armenian people, that every Artsakh citizen defends every village and city of Armenia with his resistance. “Artsakh is the guarantor of Armenia’s security, and therefore this is not only the struggle of the people of Artsakh, this is the struggle of the entire Armenian people, and we express our full support and solidarity to the struggle of Artsakh and the people of Artsakh,” added Saghatelyan.
Addressing the international community and actors, Saghatelyan first thanked all those who gave a clear assessment of Azerbaijan’s actions and condemned those who apply double standards and renounce their self-proclaimed principles.
“Charles Michel says that the time has come for brave compromises, referring also to yesterday’s escalation by Azerbaijan. Mr. Michel, we have nothing left to give in, we have something to demand. The enemy is in the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, our homeland is occupied by Azerbaijan and is under siege, and the Armenian people have no place to give up. You and your puppet Nikol can no longer impose new concessions on the Armenian people under the threat of Azerbaijan’s power. All mediators, international actors should clearly know that the person who speaks on behalf of Armenia does not represent the Armenian people and any agreement reached with him is null and void. Pashinyan has no legitimate right to recognize Artsakh as a part of Azerbaijan according to the Republic of Armenia’s legislation, its Constitution, and its Declaration of Independence. Artsakh will never be a part of Azerbaijan,” reiterated Saghatelyan .
Saghatelyan concluded by saying that the next rally will not be delayed, and noted that active discussions are underway among the opposition regarding steps to bring regime change.