Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Centennial Events

April 24 is an annual public holiday in Armenia and this year government offices and many businesses will be closed on both days, INCLUDING THE U.S. EMBASSY on April 24.

On Wednesday, April 23rd and Thursday, April 24th, large crowds are expected in downtown Yerevan to commemorate the centennial of the events of 1915.  During the centennial events, security will be heightened throughout Yerevan. Police will oversee security at the events and additional measures are likely to be enforced through the weekend.

Due to the high visibility of this year’s centennial, the U.S. embassy reminds individuals participating or visiting events to be vigilant and employ good personal security practices. The U.S. embassy is not aware of any credible threats against centennial events; but as is the case with any other high-profile gatherings, these events are viewed as a potential platform for other groups to amplify their message while the world is watching. Police will have a substantial presence to monitor the commemoration events.

Please see below for a list of events that are likely to generate the largest crowds.

April 23:

17:00 Hours: The Armenian victims of the events following April 24, 1915 will be canonized at Holy Echmiadzin Cathedral in the Vagashapat area, located approximately 13 miles to the west of central Yerevan. Travel restrictions will be in place near the cathedral. Shuttle buses will transport attendees from Yerevan’s Brazil Square to the cathedral. Those attendees who plan to drive will be forced to leave their vehicles near the highway exit for Vagashapat and will have to take a free shuttle to the cathedral.  Attendees and their personal belongings will be screened before entering the church.

20:00 Hours: The American rock band,  “System of a Down”  will hold a free concert in Yerevan’s Republic Square.  Security checkpoints, including Walk-Through Metal Detectors and limiting of large bags, will be located in the area of the square.  Access will be limited only to Vazgen Sargsyan Street. Traffic restrictions will also be enforced near Republic Square between 8:00 AM and midnight, including on Amiryan Street, Abovyan Street, Nalbandyan Street, Hanrapetutyan Street, Tigran Mets Avenue, Grigor Lusavorich Avenue, and Khorenatsy Street.

April 24:

09:00–13:00 Hours: During the morning of April 24, commemorations with be held at the Tsitsernakaberd memorial complex:  both at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute and the Memorial Complex itself. The commemorations will be attended by high-profile officials and world leaders, including the presidents of France and Russia. The complex will open to the public in the early afternoon following the visits, beginning at 13:00 hours.

20:15 Hours: The World Orchestra will hold a free concert in Republic Square. Access to the square will be restricted to Vazgen Sargsyan Street, Amiryan Street, and Tigran Mets Avenue. All attendees will have to pass through security checkpoints.

22:00 Hours: The annual torchlight procession will begin from Republic Square to Tsitsernakaberd. The route will be as follows: Republic Square – Amiryan Street – Mashtots Avenue – France Square- Baghramian Avenue – Barekamutyun Square – Kievyan Street – Kievyan Bridge – Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concert Complex – Armenian Genocide Memorial.

Road Closures: Based on the scale of the events and the number of people expected to attend, police will be closing certain roads on these days.  These road closures are expected to have a significant impact on traffic near the events, as well as to other locations within Yerevan.

Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Armenia enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at  STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the U.S. Embassy.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for Armenia.  For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. embassy for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan is located at 1 American Avenue, tel. 10-46-47-00 and fax 10-46-47-42.  The Consular Section is open from 9:00 a.m. until 6.00 p.m., with time reserved for U. S. citizen services from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for official U.S. Embassy holidays.  For more information, see the Embassy’s website.  For after-hour emergencies please call (374-10) 49-44-44.