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Watertown police examine ‘hate’ word left on Armenian church’s bulletin board

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The word, left at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church, reads “Artsakh is lifeless, Karabakh is Azerbaijan.”

St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church

Watertown police stated Monday they’re investigating a word left on the bulletin board of an Armenian church that the church characterised as hateful. 

Police had been referred to as to St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church on Elton Avenue Monday morning to research a “suspicious word,” the division wrote on Fb. The word, which was taped to the church’s message board reads “Artsakh is lifeless, Karabakh is Azerbaijan.” 

“Hate in the direction of Armenians is in all places. Keep vigilant. We can not let this deter our battle for survival and justice,” the church wrote on Fb. 

The word’s message is a reference to disputed territory within the Nagorno-Karabakh area within the South Caucasus, the Armenian title for which is Artsakh. The territory, which is basically populated with ethnic Armenians and has made efforts to separate from Azerbaijan a number of occasions within the final century, is internationally acknowledged as a part of Azerbaijan. 

Battle started once more within the area on Sept. 19 when Azerbaijan used army pressure in opposition to an Armenian enclave to reassert management, killing over 200 individuals, in response to the Armenian authorities. Inside days, Azerbaijan regained management, however on Sunday, over 1,000 ethnic Armenians fled the area because the Armenian president warned of ethnic cleaning. 

St. Stephen’s pastor of almost 30 years, Antranig Baljian, stated the word was found by mother and father dropping off their kids on the church’s elementary faculty. 

“There will be no different purpose for one thing like this apart from one way or the other making an attempt to scare us,” he stated.

Baljian stated police responded immediately and are checking the church’s safety digital camera footage to attempt to discover out who left the word. He stated nothing like this has ever occurred earlier than on the church. 

“Why did this individual have to do that?” he stated. “We perceive [the current geopolitical situation]. What occurred is actuality. There’s nothing that we are able to do right here that can change that.”

The congregation at St. Stephen’s prayed for Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh Friday evening, Baljian stated. Now, he stated, church members’ kids are their foremost concern.

“What are they going to do subsequent? We’ve got to guard ourselves,” the pastor stated. “All of our mother and father are in turmoil. They’re afraid for his or her kids.” 

Police stated they’re growing patrols across the church in response to the word. 

“Please know that your police division will go to nice lengths to make sure all neighborhood members really feel welcome and protected within the Metropolis of Watertown,” the division wrote on Fb. 

Anybody with details about the incident is requested to contact Watertown Det. Ken Swift at 617-972-6538 or [email protected]