Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   20 November

Sumgait pogrom survivors claim the massacres were planned

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 13, ARMENPRESS. On the 30th anniversary of the Sumgait pogroms, the eyewitnesses of the tragedy, who were former residents of Sumgait, remembered the massacres during a press conference in Armenpress on February 13.

They claimed that the massacres were planned in advance by the Azerbaijani authorities.

Former Sumgait resident Roya Tovmasyan on that day was at home with her family when suddenly she heard a noise in the yard. Predicting a danger, she immediately went to the neighbor’s house to call and inform that she will not go to work. “Suddenly two Police officers knocked the door and asked whether there are Armenians in the apartment. My neighbor hid me and I stayed at her house for about nine hours”, she said, adding that during the heavy fights she lost her husband, and her father was seriously wounded.

Ruzan Tovmasyan, daughter of Roya Tovmasyan, said she was ten years old in 1988. “When these people entered houses by breaking the doors, my father and grandfather started protecting us. My father and grandfather were armed with cold weapons we had at home. There was a real resistance within 8-9 hours”, the eyewitness said.

Another eyewitness Karine Mejlumyan said on that day she visited cinema with her sister. “Some people interrupted the movie screening and urged Armenians to come to a stage. Thereafter, a person from the audience demanded to continue screening the film and we immediately returned to home. On the way everyone was shouting “death to Armenians”. While arriving in home, I hid everyone under the bed and opened the door they were harshly knocking. I and my family were brutally beaten by them, and then I was hospitalized. The next day when the military arrived and took the Armenians, I understood what was happening”, Karine Mejlumyan said.

On February 27, 1988 the Azerbaijani authorities launched the massacres of Armenian population in Sumgait town 20 km from Baku. During the three-day massacres numerous people were wounded and killed, moreover, some of the victims were tortured and the bodies were burned.

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