We are nearing the 24 hour mark, and everyone is feeling positive. We have had several visitations this morning from leaders of the Armenian community. The group of Turks arrived not too long ago, today a bit more organized then yesterday, with signs and Turkish and Azeri flags. Although we are disinterested in what they are doing, we couldn’t’ help but notice the upside-down Canadian flag they walked around with for over an hour before correcting.

We thank all those who have come out to support us.

After a good nights sleep, we are back on the street, continuing our hunger strike. Pedestrian traffic on the street is limited, but the weather seems to be on our side for now. There seems to be a lot of interest by the few passing by, asking why we are doing this hunger strike. The weather forecast predicts rain for today, and we are starting to take precautions to be able to deal with it. Umbrellas and garbage bags to cover the displays are needed, but nothing will silence our unwavering determination for the pursuit of justice. We’re all patiently waiting to see if the group of Turks will return today…

7 Hours in

Posted: June 11, 2011 in Hunger Strike Participants' Blog

7 hours into the hunger strike, and we are begining to slowely feel the hunger kicking in. It’s Almost 1 oclock, and we got some rain for about 15 minutes. The number of people on the street to spread flyers has droped significantly. The group of Turks accross the street left at 9pm.  We expect them to be back tomorrow to continue spreading their propaganda. We will be going to sleep now, which should help us get over the next 8 hours, but we’re nervouse to see how we will feel early tomorrow morning.

5 hours in

Posted: June 11, 2011 in Hunger Strike Participants' Blog

We’re entering the 5th hour of our hunger strike. The spirits are high and the hunger strikers are energetic as it is very early into the strike. The first couple of hours involved setting up signs and posters, speaking to the police and RCMP and getting settled in. We have speaking to those passing by, giving out pamphlets and explaining our cause. A small group of Turks have gathered across the street, keeping a close eye on us and promoting their denial campaign. It is a strange feeling being watched so closely as we deprive ourselves of food in protest toTurkey’s denial campaign. Their shirts read, “stop Armenian lies” and “We want justice”.  96 years later, nothing has changed…

Press Release

Posted: June 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

Toronto – A group of 8 Canadian-Armenians will be holding a 72 hour hunger strike at the Simcoe Wave Deck (Queens Quay W & Lower Simcoe St) in downtown Toronto starting Friday, June 10 at 6:00pm and ending Monday, June 13, 2011. The hunger strike will culminate with an official demonstration, which will be held Monday, June 13, 2011 at 2:00pm in front of the Turkish Consulate in Toronto at (Queens Quay and Lower Spadina – 10 Lower Spadina Avenue). Over 200 Canadians will be participating in the official demonstration.

In light of the upcoming general elections in Turkey, the demonstrators will be protesting the ongoing human rights abuses carried out by the Government of Turkey, including: the denial of the Armenian Genocide; the stifling of freedom of speech, and press; oppression of Kurdish and Christian minorities who are treated as second class citizens and whose political parties are banned, leaders imprisoned and Patriarchate’s shut down.

The demonstrators will send a strong message to the newly elected officials in Turkey that Canadians and the international community at large will not stand as silent bystanders as the Turkish government deprives its citizens of their basic human rights and denies the Armenian Genocide.

Ninety six years have passed since the Armenian Genocide, the first of genocide of the 20th century. The genocide has been recognized by countless scholars including the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and numerous countries including Canada, yet it is constantly denied by the successive governments of Turkey.

Nevertheless a movement to recognize the Armenian Genocide has started in the Turkish Republic. Led by outspoken scholars and authors such as Orhan Pamuk, Hall Berktak and Ragip Zarakolu, .This April, for the second year in a row, major cities in Turkey witnessed public events commemorating the Armenian Genocide.

The brave scholars, intellectuals and journalists organizing and writing about these events are often charged with violating Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for speaking freely about the genocide or criticizing the government and its institutions. Consequently, Turkey has more journalists in jail than any other country in the world. Hrant Dink was put on trial under this article for freely expressing his views about the rights of the Armenian minority living in Turkey. He was later assassinated on January 19, 2007, in broad day light in the streets of Istanbul. This led to large scale demonstrations in Turkey protesting the state sponsored killing of the Turkish-Armenian journalist.

Canadian-Armenians gathered in front of the Turkish Consulate will mourn the 1.5 million Armenians exterminated during the Genocide, celebrate their rebirth, and renew their commitment to stand for truth and justice. The solidarity and support of Canadians to commemorate the 96th anniversary of the events of 1915 is not only for the victims of the Armenian Genocide but to all victim nations of genocides, war crimes and human rights abuses around the world.

At the same time protestors will urge the Canadian Government to take action with regard to Turkey’s dismal human rights record, as part of Canada’s foreign policy agenda. As a model democracy, a leader in peace-building, partnership, reconciliation and fair and honest dialogue, Canada must recognize the role it can play in helping Turkey become a legitimate democracy. Our government must urge the Turkish government to cease its oppression of minorities by extending support to Christian Patriarchates and repealing Article 301 of its Penal Code.

In the words of philosopher George E. Moore, “After all, there is but one race, humanity.”

WHAT: 8 Canadian-Armenians will be holding a 72 hour hunger strike protesting the Government of Turkey’s on-going human rights abuses and denial of the Armenian Genocide

WHEN:  Starting Friday, June 10, 2011, at 6:00pm until Monday, June 13, 2011.

WHERE:  Simcoe Wave Deck Queens Quay W & Lower Simcoe St. and at the Turkish Consulate of Toronto at Queens Quay and Lower Spadina – 10 Lower Spadina Avenue.

The hunger strike will culminate with an official demonstration, which will be held Monday, June 13, 2011 at 2:00pm in front of the Turkish Consulate in Toronto

 

DETAILS:  In light of the upcoming general elections in Turkey, the demonstrators will be protesting the on-going human rights abuses carried out by the Government of Turkey, including: the denial of the Armenian Genocide; the stifling of freedom of speech and press; oppression of Kurdish, Christian, and other minorities who are treated as second class citizens.

The demonstrators will send a strong message to the newly elected officials in Turkey and prove that Canadians and the international community at large will not stand as silent bystanders as the Turkish government deprives its citizens of their basic human rights and denies their own history.