Armenia Goes Dark To Remember Victims Of Ottoman-Era Killings
Armenia turned off street lights and church bells tolled across the country late on April 23 to commemorate the victims of the World War I-era massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. A circle of blue light shone into the sky from the hilltop Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex, which dominates the skyline of the capital, Yerevan. Residents forced to stay indoors due to the coronavirus lockdown turned off lights in their homes. Many lit candles or switched on cell phone flashlights at windows. President Armen Sarkisian issued a statement saying that the 105th anniversary "of the Armenian Genocide is commemorated in accordance with a protocol forced on us by the coronavirus pandemic." During and immediately after World War I, as many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed or deported from Anatolia, in what Armenians call "the Great Crime." Many historians, Armenia, and more than 30 countries consider the killings genocide. As the successor state to the Ottoman Empire, Turkey objects to the use of the word genocide and describes the killings as "the events of 1915."