Thousands of people gather at the Tsitsernakaberd monument in Yerevan annually on April 24 to commemorate the 1.5 million Armenians who died at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. April 24 is the internationally recognized remembrance day for the Armenian genocide.
This year, however, April 24 has new significance. This date now marks the day former Armenian president and newly-appointed Prime Minister resigned amid large-scale civil protests. For the thousands of demonstrators lining the capital’s street, this was a huge victory and a sign of much-needed political change.
Emotions were mixed in Yerevan for this year’s remembrance day. On a day which traditionally commemorates one of the darkest chapters in the country’s history, people had reason to celebrate.
“Everyone remembers on this day, but today, the mood is probably a bit more upbeat. You can’t call this joy, but there is joy all the same. You could say that we won yesterday.” says Ruzanna Papikyan, a hostel owner from Yerevan.
Either way, for many Armenians, April 24 is a symbol of their national pride.
“Yesterday was when the survivors confirmed their right to live. We can’t be broken, we can’t be destroyed. We have our own country, an already victorious country. This means something,” Ruzanna adds.
Hromadske journalists reporting on the protests in Yerevan spent the day with some locals as they remember the victims of genocide and look towards the future of their country.
READ MORE: Protests In Yerevan: The Face Of Change