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YEREVAN, April 24. /TASS/. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and other top national officials paid their respects to the victims of the 1915 genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire by laying wreaths and flowers at the monument on Yerevan’s Tsitsernakaberd Hill. Catholicos of all Armenians Karekin II held a prayer service at the eternal flame in memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination, who were canonized by the Armenian Apostolic Church two years ago.
"Today, on the day of remembrance of the Armenian genocide victims, we note the need to remember our holy martyrs," Sargsyan stated. "The massacre carried out under the pretext of resettlement was the Ottoman Empire’s state-sponsored program. That was done with extreme and unprecedented cruelty. April 24, 1915, divided Armenia’s millennia-old history in two: prior to this tragic date and after it. The Armenians’ physical, cultural and political losses are immeasurable. However, the biggest loss is the people who were members of an ancient, rich and authentic civilization."
He noted that "the revival of the Armenian people has become a reality thanks to the descendants of those who survived the genocide." "The restoration of Armenian statehood on our native soil, the revival of Armenian culture and science has become a reality thanks to these descendants," Sargsyan explained. "Within this period of time, we gave the world a whole constellation of creative geniuses, and the world learned what happened to us through the great Armenians."
"In 1915, we found ourselves in a hellish inferno, but, if we found strength to accomplish great achievements while coming back to life, we will be able to do more amid the 21st-century independent statehood," the president added.
On Sunday evening, activists of the Dashnaktsutyun left-wing nationalist political party and the youth branch of the ruling right-wing conservative Republican Party of Armenia organized a traditional torchlight procession through central Yerevan to the monument to the victims of the genocide. They carried a huge state tricolor along the capital city’s streets.