Armenian protestors gathered in West LA to condemn the military aggression by Azerbaijan and Turkey.
By Gene Wickham, Staff Writer
On Sept. 30, hundreds of Armenian supporters met in front of the Azeri consulate in West Los Angeles to denounce Azerbaijan and its ally Turkey’s aggression following an altercation between two fighter jets.
Armenia has claimed an Azeri F-16 shot down one of their jets on Sept. 27 over Nagorno-Karabakh, unleashing a conflict which has killed hundreds. Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh, is an enclave which lies within Azerbaijan’s borders and has a population of over 140,000; 95 percent of which are ethnic Armenian and Muslim.
The protesters were responding to the renewed conflict, which they say is being backed by President Recep Tayyin Erdogan of Turkey. They were trying to call attention to the recent surge of violence in the region and the lack of news coverage in the states.
“In Los Angeles County and around the world, I am committed to standing up for our Armenian communities,” said LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “It is my hope that the United States will hold Azerbaijan and Turkey accountable for their attack on Artsakh, which killed innocent people.”
The police held traffic from both ends of Wilshire Boulevard and Barrington Avenue, allowing protesters to march down the street. Protesters chanted slogans in English and Armenian such as, “Get your hands off our land,” “We are Karabakh” and “No more aggression, stop the oppression.”
Drones were noticed hugging the nearby high rises and following the action below. Besides one helicopter, a plane was spotted dragging a sign saying “Azerbaijan & Turkey promote terrorism.”
The rally was scheduled for 6 p.m. but many came before and others arrived well into the night. Both the Armenian flag and the Artsakh flag were visible everywhere. Many young people and families showed up and a multitude of older people came to support the cause as well.
On Saturday, the protests moved to Hollywood, another Armenian locale and home of Little Armenia. Protesters and locals became more heated as the procession blocked intersections and the 101 Freeway.
The marchers made their voices heard on Glenoaks Boulevard in Glendale a few days later. It was noted, unlike in West LA, there were very few masks worn in Glendale.
Since the aggression started, the bombing has moved into the Artsakh cities with hundreds dead, both military and civilian. Military incursions have increased with no signs of a cease fire.
Armenia became more enraged after Turkey backed Azerbaijan in this incident. The two former Soviet republics have had numerous altercations since gaining their independence in the early 1990s.
Turkey has been a longtime opponent of Armenia, most noticeably in 1915 with the Armenian Genocide and forcible removal of ethnic Armenians from Turkey, which reportedly killed 1.5 million during the purge.
According to KTLA5 news, local governments have begun showing their support for Armenians in Los Angeles, which has the largest number of Armenians outside of their home country.
In a recent message from the LACCD Chancellor's office, the district has confirmed their support for Armenian staff and students.
“We are writing to stand in solidarity with our Armenian colleagues and students during this time of great uncertainty and loss,” the message stated. “Dialogue, humanity and civility, not violence, must prevail and is the only way to bring comprehensive and enduring peace to the region.”