YEREVAN – Yesterday evening, Armenia turned off lights in public places to commemorate the victims of the 1915 genocide that killed an estimated 1.5 million ethnic Armenians and happened concurrently with the Syriac-Assyrian and Pontic-Greek genocides. The “lights out” ceremony is different from the previous years where larger public events would have been held. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was made to cancel public commemorations.
As part of this ceremony, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the Patriarch of the Armenian Church, Karekin II, laid wreaths in front of extermination monument in the capital Yerevan.
The candles march, that is usually held in the Armenian capital Yerevan on 23 April each year was cancelled and roads leading to the extermination memorial, which overlooks the city, were closed.
Instead of usual the ceremonies, public lights were turned off and church bells rang across the country. Yerevan was plunged into darkness as its inhabitants also turned off the lights of their homes. Many lit candles or their mobile phones and put them on the edge of windows.
“The 105th anniversary of this tragedy is being commemorated with a ceremony imposed on us by the epidemic,” Armenian President Armen Sarkissian said. “We remember the victims all the time and everywhere, and it doesn’t matter where we are in the world.”
In his address yesterday, Sarkisian stressed that the recognition of the genocide by Turkey is a security issue for Armenia, the Armenian nation, and the region.