Saturday’s energetic demonstration in Manhattan started at 40 Rockefeller Plaza, where the NBC television network is headquartered, then up Sixth Avenue and across Central Park South to CNN studios in Columbus Circle. The thousands of protesters traveled across Broadway to ABC studios on West 66th Street. The protest began at 12:30pm and ended up on the Upper West Side by 3.
It’s safe to say there were thousands of people marching and a few people told me they thought it was over 5,000, but I found it hard to get a sense of the overall size since it snaked on for blocks and felt disjointed at various times. It was pleasantly surprising to see how many people showed up considering the last Artsakh protest at the end of July attracted a few hundred. The solid turnout also demonstrates the level of urgency Armenians feel at the imminent threat as Artsakh is being bombed daily by Azeri forces. Hundreds have already died, perhaps thousands, but it’s unclear because the Azeri side isn’t reporting military casualties.
There were signs of solidarity at the protest from Greek, Assyrian, Iranian, Albanian, Palestinian, and people from other communities that joined the crowd. The majority of marchers were certainly Armenian and they hailed from a wide cross section of groups and affiliations. Few things unify Armenians like disaster, something Armenians from all parts of the world sadly understand too well as we’re a global nation forged from tragedies, including genocide, revolution, war, and persecution. Thankfully we’ve been strengthened by our interconnectedness that has emerged from the generational struggle to not only survive but to thrive while being informed and educated by history.
I created a handy slideshow explainer about the conflict for those who may be confused as to what is going on. I hope it helps you understand the stakes for many of us.
I can’t impress on you how inspiring yesterday was. The energy was high and optimistic, even if everyone knew this was only the beginning.
I ran into people from most phases of my life throughout the afternoon, and even a few people from social media for the first time IRL. Almost everyone in attendance wore masks. It was a caring and powerful demonstration of solidarity and community care.
There’s also this online resource of relevant links for more info.