20 January victims remembered in Rome

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Rome, January 21, AZERTAC

Research Centre on Azerbaijan under La Sapienza University in Rome has hosted an event commemorating the 26th anniversary of the 20 January tragedy.

Moderated by Maryam Mehdiyeva, vice president of the Azerbaijan-Italy Youth Association (AIYA), the ceremony started with a minute of silence for victims of the January tragedy.

In his opening remarks, President of the Young Italian Researches Association on Azerbaijan and Caucasus (ASSAC), Professor Daniel Pommier noted that “looking through the history we have eye witnessed how our peoples gave martyrs in the struggle for freedom”. Underlining the Italian public's awareness of the history of Azerbaijan's independence, Mr. Pommier paid tribute to those who lost their lives on the night of 20 January.

Azerbaijan's charge d'affaires in Italy Vugar Hajiyev said that on the night of January 19 to 20, 1990 the armed–to-the-teeth Soviet army deployed troops to Baku without any warning, torturing Azerbaijani civilians. He said dozens were killed and hundreds were injured in the 20 January tragedy, which he described as “one of the bloodiest pages of our history”.

“However, 20 January went down in the history of Azerbaijan as a page of pride and heroism,” he said.

"Although the Soviet government deployed 30,000 soldiers in Baku that night, in the morning a large crowd of people took to the streets to bury their martyrs. It was a challenge against the unjust regime," Hajiyev added.

The event then featured presentation of the film "Shusha Galasi" (Shusha Castle) made in partnership with the Council of State Support for NGOs under the President of Azerbaijan.

Addressing the event, employee at the Council Toghrul Mammadli called on Azerbaijani students to be active in “promoting the truth about our country, including about the 20 January tragedy in the universities they study abroad and in the events they participate”. He said that the Azerbaijani government has always assisted young people in holding such awareness-raising events.

“The Council is always ready to support such initiatives. Promoting the realities of Azerbaijan is the duty of every Azerbaijani young person,” he added.

Co-chairman of AIYA Emin Rustamov, director of the film Nihad Isa, president of the Dance Mission Association in Italy Raisa Salakhova said 20 January events have been etched on the minds of Azerbaijanis as a page of heroism in the history of their struggle for freedom and territorial integrity.

The event participants then watched Shusha Galasi film.

Magsud Dadashov

Special Correspondent

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