Hundreds of Armenians Rally in Sydney to End The Blockade, Securing Widespread Media Coverage

In a display of unity and determination, hundreds of Armenian-Australians and supporters gathered in Sydney’s CBD on Friday, 1st September 2023, for the “End The Blockade” protest march, which received extensive media coverage, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).

The Lachin (Berdzor) Corridor has blocked access to life for Nagorno Karabakh’s indigenous Armenians by petro-dictatorship, Azerbaijan for over 250 days, causing deaths from starvation and lack of medicine.

The Armenian-Australian protesters began outside the Australian Red Cross office in Sydney, expressing thanks to the organisation’s international partner, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), for its humanitarian efforts in the region, whilst calling for further action to ensure unhindered movement of goods, cargo and people in both directions along the corridor.

The procession concluded outside the Sydney office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), with speeches from the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Artsakh in Australia, Mr Kaylar Michaelian and Armenian Youth Federation of Australia representative, Jean-Jack Kajakajian.

Kajajakian delivered a powerful speech outside DFAT and said, “1915 never again. They were the words I used to scream at the age of five. Passed down from generation to generation. Me, a five-year-old child bearing the wound of intergenerational trauma, marched through our CBD, participated in protests, screaming nineteen fifteen never again. All with the hopes that my ancestor’s history will never be repeated.”

The March, which shut down Sydney’s CBD for over an hour during a workday, was covered by several Australian media outlets, including the Australian Associated Press (AAP) and SBS News, featuring interviews with members of the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) and the Armenian Youth Federation of Australia (AYF-AU).

The article written by AAP Journalist Farid Farid was picked up by numerous Australian media outlets, including the Canberra Times, Shepparton News, The Maitland Mercury, South Coast Register, and Innovative Tech News Today, reaching thousands within the broader Australian society. The full article can be read here.

The 6-minute SBS News report titled “‘Living in Peril’: Australian-Armenians protest over the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno Karabakh” was produced by Sydney Lang, and highlighted the deteriorating humanitarian situation on the ground in Artsakh.

To listen to the full interview, click here.

ANC-AU Executive Director Michael Kolokossian praised the community for their commitment to standing up for the people of Artsakh: “We are immensely proud of each member of our for making their voices heard. They became the voice for the voiceless, demonstrating our unwavering commitment to justice, and we are deeply grateful for their dedication and passion.”

The ‘End The Blockade’ March aimed to draw attention to Azerbaijan’s man-made siege imposed on the Republic of Artsakh, which has had devastating humanitarian consequences for the 120,000 indigenous Armenians. Demonstrators were calling on Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator the Hon. Penny Wong, to apply greater pressure on Azerbaijan to end the blockade, a critical step towards justice and relief for the people of Armenia.

The peaceful demonstration was organised by the Office of the Republic of Artsakh in Australia.