Tens of thousands of protesters filled the streets of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills Sunday to march in solidarity with Armenia in its recent conflict with Azerbaijan. According to CBS Los Angeles, the LAPD estimated that up to 100,000 people participated, walking from Pan Pacific Park to the Turkish Consulate in Beverly Hills as part of the “Artsakh Under Attack: March for Victory.”
The two countries have been embroiled in intense conflict and, most recently, a failed cease-fire since Sept. 27, when military clashes erupted in Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as the Republic of Artsakh, a disputed territory that has been the subject of conflict for decades. The de facto independent state is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but is populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians. The region has experienced unrest for decades. In the most recent clash, both countries accused the other of striking first.
Central to the demonstrations is Armenians’ demand that media outlets increase coverage of the conflict and report on recent events, not as an equal-footed conflict, but as genocidal aggression perpetrated by Azerbaijan and its ally, Turkey — the latter of which carried out the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
Los Angeles is home to the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia. “Everybody knows somebody on the ground,” said Salpi Ghazarian, director of USC’s Institute of Armenian Studies, during a segment on KPCC’s “Take Two.” Some Armenians are even opting to leave L.A. and travel back to Armenia to assist with frontline efforts.
Sunday’s protest appeared peaceful, with no reports of conflicts or confrontations between LAPD and protesters. Event speakers included L.A. City Councilmember Paul Krekorian and U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff.
That afternoon, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted in support of Armenia and Artsakh.
Protesters gathered at 3 p.m. to begin the 2-mile march to the Turkish Consulate. Along the route, demonstrators played celebratory music and waved Armenian flags.
Aerial footage shows Wilshire Boulevard packed with demonstrators carrying signs reading “Artsakh is Armenia” and “#StopAliyev,” in reference to Turkish President Ilham Aliyev.