Azerbaijan Human rights/war crimes US foreign policy

Azerbaijani protesters subjected to brutality by pro-Armenian demonstrators at protest rallies

By | Rachel Brooks

October 24, 2020

Above, one of the protesters at the events in Los Angeles in which Armenian protesters committed hate crimes and assaults against at least three Azerbaijani counterprotesters. 

Mass intimidation tactics and outright violence have riveted peaceful demonstrations by Azerbaijani diaspora as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict continues to rage. Tactics are as simple as Armenian nationals pulling guns on peaceful flag demonstrators in a crowd of people in Poland, but they go as far as to threaten television journalists with death in France. 

It was reported among the Azerbaijani diaspora community that the host of French TF1 channel was threatened with death by Armenian nations following the airtime of the enclosed broadcast. 

The death threats were reposted by Operation Karabakh, which took a screenshot of the social media post thread containing the threatening messages to prove the accuracy of their statement. 

The statements were translated from French and Armenian. 

“After beheading some of the TF1 officials, they will think more clearly and better about it,” said one, in the perhaps most violent verbal expression attached to the TF1 post. 

Threats made to the French journalist who works for TF1 were so heated, and protests from Armenian support groups were so heated, that the broadcast network decided to pull the segment. While not a direct threat against Azerbaijani Diaspora, the incident with the French journalist proves that there is nationalist movement that would not stop at threatening and killing foreign parties press forward with the agenda. 

Yet, direct threats were made as well, all across Europe, as the Azerbaijani Diaspora protested the occupation of lands recognized as part of Azerbaijan in four consecutive U.N. resolutions that were drafted in the twilight of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict 1990s Era. 

The Azerbaijani support group posted a photo collage of the damages inflicted upon community members. There was photographic evidence of a man hospitalized post-protest altercation. 

An Azerbaijani man was hospitalized following an altercation with Armenian protesters.

Likewise, the post shares photographic evidence that the Armenian nationalists who appeared at the scene of the protests seized and burned both signage and flags of the peaceful demonstration. 

Protester headwound

While further photographic evidence reveals that a man had received a wound to the head during one of the altercations. 

Protester property seized and burned.

During an incident in Poland, a group of Azerbaijani protesters is seen demonstrating their republic’s flag. At that time, a group of Armenian demonstrators approaches the scene, carrying the Armenian flag. One of the Armenian demonstrators is pointing a firearm at the Azerbaijani demonstrator with the republic’s flag draped across their shoulders. The firearm was not discharged at the time of the video recording, but protesters began to flee the scene from the possibility of weapon’s discharge.

 

A man pulls a firearm at Azerbaijani protesters in Poland.

Only one assailant is seen on video record to have produced a firearm. It is unclear if any of the other demonstrators were in possession of firearms at the time of the incident. 

The frequency and violence of the protest altercations in the September-to-Present Era of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict are not new occurrences. 

When the conflict escalated heatedly in July, Armenian protesters around the world directed their hostilities toward the Azerbaijani Diaspora. One incident occurred at the Azerbaijan Embassy of Belgium. Armenian mobs stoned the staff of the Brussels embassy complex. Photographs from the scene of this incident show that a member of the Azerbaijani press was hit with a stone and received a wound to the head, which bled profusely. This was shared by the group Karabakh Daily. 

Photographs of the Azerbaijani journalist’s headwound.

The incidents of July 2020 were not isolated to Europe. Karabakh Daily also retrieved video documentation of a solidarity protest in Los Angeles, California, United States. The video shows an Azerbaijani diaspora being beaten by a mob of Armenian demonstrators. The young man is hurled to the ground by a group of assailants and struck in the back. The video shows that the young man is attacked by at least 10 assailants, though it is possible there were more individuals involved in the incident. The incident is eventually intercepted by a police officer, and the youth is assisted to his feet. 

Incidents of burning the Azerbaijani flag are not isolated to the October era of the conflict either. Similar incidents of burning the flag occurred at the LA demonstration on July 20. At this event, the mob that gathered were also those who attacked the young man from the footage above.

This mob likewise drove on the flag with a motorcycle and spit and stomped on it. 

The mob at this incident was also seen to have shouted profanities at the gathered protestors.They proceeded to lift the Armenian flag over the scene of the demonstration. As a stroke of irony, footage captures one of the Azerbaijani protester holding a placard which reads “Stop Armenian Aggression.”  

This incident received light media coverage in the U.S. press. Los Angeleno reported that a brawl had broken out between “Armenian protesters and a smaller group of Azerbaijani counter protesters.” Local news, ABC7, stated that the protest had been “large and lively,” based on aerial footage. A brawl ensued between the opposing protest groups, and there is a hate crime investigation into three unique incidents of battery. Non-life threatening injuries were reported. LAPD Capt. Randy Goddard informed the LA Times that the Armenian protesters refused to heed their facilitators and came “across the line” to actively engage with the Azerbaijani counter protesters.

The incident was likewise covered by local television station KTLA5.   KTLA5 reported that a hate crime investigation was underway after three unique incidents of assault against Azerbaijani. The protests were reported to have taken place at the Azerbaijani Consulate in West Los Angeles.  The assaults took place at 2pm local time on July 23, 2020 at the consulate in the Sawtelle neighborhood. 

 

Contrasting demonstrators rights between Armenian and Azerbaijani demonstrations

The Miami Herald reported that Armenian-Americans marched in Miami on October 23 to “condemn Azerbaijan” and to “demand the liberty of Artsakh.” Pro-Armenian protests also occurred in Los Angeles outside of the Turkish consulate, citing Los Angeles Times,  and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, briefly closing Vine Street Expressway, citing ABC. There were no reports from these outlets of Azerbaijani diaspora appearing at the scene of Armenian protests and exacting violence. 

On October 23, Netherland news outlet Region14.nl news reported that the Azerbaijani community of Hilversum were permitted to protest the Nagorno-Karabakh 2020 conflict from Media Park. Demonstrations were against the biased reporting of the Dutch media regarding the conflict. They were held peacefully opposite Media Park on the Mies Bouwmanboulevard at half-past three local time Friday. The Dutch outlet reported a light presence of police to protect the protestors, who were unfurling banners and setting up placards. This was done because Armenian protesters were spotted at the scene, and the local Dutch authorities feared incitement of riot. 

Irina Tsukerman, a New York-based human rights lawyer, commented on the limited coverage of the hate crimes against Azerbaijani demonstrators, as well as the discrepancy of rights between the Armenian and the Azerbaijani diaspora groups. 

“In the last few weeks,Azerbaijani diaspora has staged many peaceful rallies in support of their country, and in opposition to continuous occupation of Azerbaijani lands and attacks on civilians by Armenian forces. However, these events received relatively limited coverage in the mainstream media, and even less coverage independent of commentary on the Armenian demonstration. In part, this is due to the fact that Azerbaijani diaspora is relatively small and young. Most refugees who had been forced out of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent territories long to return home. Armenian diasporas around the world are numerous and established,” said Tsukerman, referencing the fact that many of the Azerbaijani diaspora community were displaced by the Nagorno-Karabakh 1990s era conflict. 

“It is interesting to note how millions of people who have resided in the US, France, and other countries for over a hundred years or more are engaging in toxic, sometimes violent actions on a behalf of a country strongly influenced by Russia, Iran, and other third parties. It is also interesting to note that rather than letting their cause speak for itself, there is a great deal of pressure from the Armenian diasporas on the local media to limit platform and coverage to the Azerbaijani voices, as if doing so would automatically assure defeat the Armenian cause, and as if these diasporas admit that without producing mass popular ignorance of the Azerbaijani position and community needs, the Armenian cause has no legs to stand on or cannot generate sympathy without having a counterpart that can be shut down or demonized.”

The violence abroad of Armenian protesters toward Azerbaijani demonstrators accents Armenia as the aggressor in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict even on foreign fronts. The biases of media coverage toward these facts are likewise highlighted by the fact that primarily local sources covered these events, while mainstream outlets continue to publish rhetoric in favor of the Armenian Artsakh agenda.