Dozens of pro-Armenia demonstrators are gathered near the intersection of Glenoaks Boulevard and Western Avenue in Glendale to support Armenia in its conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The group had been marching toward the freeway but have since turned around.
Earlier in the day, a group of local and federal officials gathered on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall Monday to denounce the violence that has been raging between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Los Angeles and the cities of Glendale and Burbank are home to the nation’s largest population of Armenian immigrants.
“We demand that our government in Washington engage immediately and aggressively to bring an end to this violence, and to hold the Azeri and Turkish governments fully accountable for these crimes,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who is of Armenian decent and said his children were “christened” in that country.
Krekorian introduced a resolution that was immediately passed by the City Council last week condemning the actions of the Azeri government.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been engaged in conflicts for years, but the situation escalated in July when the Azeri government threatened to blow up a nuclear power plant in Armenia.
The fallout has reached expats who protested in front of the Azeri consulate in Los Angeles this summer.
Officials at the Azerbaijan consulate in Los Angeles could not be reached for comment Monday. According to the Los Angeles Times, the consulate’s Nasimi Aghayev released a videotaped statement over the weekend saying, “Azerbaijan is defending itself, its civilian population, on its own soil and with its own armed forces.”
He denied that religion has played a role in the conflict and described portrayals of it as such as “propaganda advanced by Armenia and its allies,” The Times reported.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday the city comes together each year to remember the 1914 genocide 1.5 million of Armenians, which the Turkish government has not acknowledged.
“We unite around a clarion call to deny the wrongs of history are doomed to repeat them, that no nation should erase the memories of so many souls taken in a dark and vile crime against humanity,” Garcetti said.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra weighed in on the conflict as well.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to our brothers and sisters in the Armenian community as we work together to address what appear to be a series of violent attacks against them here in California,” Becerra said. “Crimes motivated by hate have a corrosive effect on our society and cannot be tolerated.”’
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, said there have been issues with the leadership of the Turkish government and its allegiance to Azerbaijan.
“We have a strong, bipartisan message for (President of Turkey Recep Tayyip) Erdogan: You are a member of NATO, start acting like one,” the congressman said.
Supervisor Janice Hahn also commented on the conflict.
“I join leaders across Los Angeles County in calling on the Trump Administration to conduct the peaceful diplomacy necessary to bring an end to these attacks and save lives,” she said.
The Times reported that with the attention of the global community diverted elsewhere, Azerbaijan has staged displays of aggression that include shelling civilians in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh.
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