20 January – National Mourning Day.

20 January – National Mourning Day. 

On the night of January 19-20, 1990, former Soviet troops committed an unprecedented massacre of civilians in Baku who rose up to establish an independent state and gain their sovereignty. This bloody crime has not been able to extinguish the people's love for freedom, and our people have gained their state independence, albeit at the cost of their blood.

This crime committed against the people of Azerbaijan is, in fact, a terrible act of terrorism against humanity. The tragedy killed 147 Azerbaijani citizens, injured 638 people, and illegally arrested 841 people, as a result of which the requirements of many international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, were grossly violated.

National leader Heydar Aliyev, who arrived at the permanent representation of Azerbaijan in Moscow after the events of January 20 in Baku, strongly condemned the atrocity at a press conference, calling the terror against the people a violation of law, democracy, and humanity. Even in the days of the Soviet empire, the Great Leader's statement proved once again that only great personalities make great strides in politics.

The tragedy of January 20, which has become a symbol of national unity and patriotism, is a glorious history of the struggle of our people for their freedom. Every year on the anniversary of the tragedy, millions of people visit the Alley of Martyrs, built on the highest point of the capital, to commemorate their heroes. While commemorating the memory of the martyrs with deep respect, we recall the words of our national leader Heydar Aliyev: “Those who died in the January 20 tragedy are national heroes, they are the heroes of our nation. Their death is a great loss for us, for our people. But at the same time, their martyrdom is a symbol of the heroism of our people. Their blood is the blood of all our people. In every drop of that blood, there is the power and heroism of our people, our people have the desire for national freedom and independence.

January 20, 1990 is the date when the Azerbaijani people, who lived for many years in slavery of the Soviet empire, raised the voice of freedom and showed courage in the fight for their sovereignty. Exactly 34 years separate us from that terrible January night, which is imprinted in the national memory of our people as the tragedy of “Black January” or simply “January 20”. In total, 131 people were killed, 744 were injured, 844 were illegally arrested, 200 houses and apartments were destroyed, 80 cars, including ambulances, state property and personal belongings were burned. Despite the fact that units of the Soviet army sent to Baku took to the streets and opened fire with heavy equipment and various weapons on civilians protesting against the empire, this day became a turning point in our history and shed light on the path to freedom.
On March 29, 1994, national leader Heydar Aliyev made a special decision “On the tragic events that occurred in Baku on January 20, 1990.” Thus, a political and legal assessment was given of the terrible tragedy that the Azerbaijani people suffered on January 20.

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