Statue ready for unveiling

THE Assyrian Universal Alliance has asked for respect from the Turkish community in the lead-up to the unveiling of the Assyrian Genocide monument at Edensor Park.

The four-metre statue will be unveiled on August 7, known by the Assyrian community as Martyrs Day.

Tensions between the two communities were raised when the construction of the monument was approved by Fairfield Council in December last year.

The Turkish community has been vocal in opposition to the statue and held a protest at the council chambers earlier this year.

Alliance deputy secretary-general Hermiz Shahen said necessary precautions were being taken for the event.

“We will have our own security and have talked to the police, who have assured us there will be a high police presence in the day,” he said.

Mr Shahen said the monument was completed and ready for the ceremony on Saturday.

“The artist has completed all the work now and the preparations have gone well,” he said.

The entire project, including landscaping the surrounding areas, cost the group more than $70,000.

Mr Shahen said donations were received from around the world.

“The site is expected to become a pilgrimage site, not only for the Assyrians, but for all Australians who are sympathetic to this issue,” he said.

More than a thousand people are expected to attend the unveiling including representatives from federal, state and local government, Assyrians from around Australia and the world, and members of the Fairfield community.

The event will begin at 11am at the corner of Smithfield Road and Elizabeth Drive, Edensor Park.