Over a hundred Armenian-American protesters marched this evening in Glendale to support Armenia in its conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The group gathered on Glenoaks Boulevard, and at one point marched toward the freeway before turning around. On Sunday, protesters shut down both sides of the Hollywood (170) Freeway, just north of the interchange of the Hollywood (101) and Ventura (134) freeways at Riverside Drive.
Los Angeles and the cities of Glendale and Burbank are home to the nation’s largest population of Armenian immigrants, and demonstrations took place last week and over the weekend against what many of them call Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenia and Nagorno-Karaabakh, also known as Artsakh. The mountainous region is controlled by ethnic Armenians but is inside Azerbaijani territory.
A group of local and federal officials also gathered on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall Monday to denounce the violence in Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“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.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Azerbaijan 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.
“Glendale for Artsakh” protests and events are planned throughout the week, including:
— a candlelight vigil for fallen soldiers and civilians Thursday at 7 p.m. at St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church, at 500 S. Central Ave.; and
— a rally and march Saturday at 6 p.m. from the Armenian Consulate to Artsakh Avenue.