LOS ANGELES (MassisPost) — In an unprecedented show of support for the centennial commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, more than 130,000 took to the streets of Little Armenia on April 24 to march for justice for the martyred souls who perished at the hands of the Ottoman government during World War I.
Throngs joined Friday’s six-mile walk from the Little Armenia neighborhood to the Turkish Consulate, carrying flags and signs voicing their common and persistent call for the Turkish government to recognize the deaths of more than 1.5 million Armenians as genocide. Many of the signs voiced forceful messages: “We Demand Justice” and “Turkey Must Pay.” The march is said to have been the largest in the history of protests in Los Angeles joined by politicians at the federal, state and local level.
The event began with an unveiling ceremony of the “Armenian Genocide Memorial Square” sign adorning the busy intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue. The erection of the signs, spearheaded by Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell with the participation of the Consul General of RA in Los Angeles Sergey Sargisov, drew thousands of onlookers while Federal, State and local political leaders hailed the sign as an important and significant step towards recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell stated that the marker will show that the city of Los Angeles recognizes the history of the Armenian Genocide, emphasizing the impact of the event on the Armenian community.
“One hundred years ago, the Ottoman Empire attempted to annihilate an entire race in the first genocide of the last century,” said Congressman Adam Schiff. “When it was over, 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children lay dead and many thousands of others barely survived. Despite a brutal campaign of massacres, forced death marches, lootings and rape, the Young Turks failed to destroy the Armenian people as evidenced by the vibrant diaspora and Armenian nation.”
Immediately following the unveiling ceremony was the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee of Western US — a coalition of 19 community organizations, organized a march which began with an invocation by Archbishop Hovnan Derderian of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, Moushegh Mardirossian of the Western Prelacy, Mgr. Michael Mouradian, Bishop of Armenian Catholics of North America, and Rev. Joe Matossian. The event featured speakers including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Consul General Sergey Sargisov, State Sen. Kevin De Leon and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, whose Armenian language speech invigorated the audience made up of young and old Armenians and non-Armenians.