The ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has manifested in protests here in Los Angeles, most recently over the weekend in Hollywood.
Over Saturday and Sunday, some 500 protesters gathered in front of the CNN building in Hollywood to demand coverage of the continued conflict between the two countries. Protests also took place in Glendale on Sunday. At times, protesters spilled out onto or blocked portions of the 101 and 170 freeways.
The two former Soviet nations are battling over Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as the Republic of Artsakh, a disputed territory that has been the subject of conflict since the Soviet Union dissolved. The de facto independent state is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, though it’s mostly populated by ethnic Armenians. As tensions have escalated, both sides have accused the other of killing and injuring civilians.
And these rising tensions are felt here, in Los Angeles, home to the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia.
Yesterday, Mayor Eric Garcetti included that piece of information in a Tweet expressing support for Armenia and asking Turkey, which has backed Azerbaijan in the conflict, to “disengage.”
In response, Can Oğuz, the Turkish consul general of Los Angeles, wrote a letter saying that L.A. is also home to many Turkish-Americans, “which the elected administrators of this city apparently chose to overlook.”
In late July, there was another protest at the Azerbaijani consulate general in West Los Angeles. Violence later broke out between the Armenian protesters and a smaller group of Azerbaijani counterprotesters. Police said they were investigating three hate crime and battery incidents after three people sustained non-life-threatening injuries.