LONDON, (AFP) - Almost 1,000 people marched through the streets of central London on Saturday to commemorate the mass killings of Armenians in the former Ottoman Empire in 1915, and to call for recognition of the event as genocide, said police.
Armenia claims that 1.5 million of its people were slaughtered in the final years of the empire, the predecessor of modern Turkey. However Turkey disputes that the killings constitute a genocide.
Hratche Koundarjian, communications director of the group Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (CRAG), who attended the commemoration, said: "If we march for two hours and get sore feet we might just begin to get a very small idea of what it is like being marched to your death."
The march ended at the capital's cenotaph. Earlier this week, protesters mounted vigils outside the Turkish embassy in London to highlight their cause. Armenia commemorated its victims on Wednesday, with President Robert Kocharian demanding that the international community condemned the "crime against humanity."
Turkey categorically rejects claims of genocide, saying that around 300,000 Armenians and thousands of Turks were killed in fighting when Armenians, then subjects of the Ottoman Empire, sided with invading Russian troops in the hope of carving out an independent state in eastern Anatolia.