By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde and Alene Tchekmedyian
LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times) — The masked figure in black walked the perimeters of the two private Armenian schools, clutching Turkish flags. In the early-morning hours of Tuesday, January 29. school officials and police said, he zip-tied more than a dozen flags on the schools’ gates and fled.
Authorities are investigating the incidents, which have sparked concern and outrage among L.A.’s Armenians. Many have described the display of the flags as an act of hate, intended to intimidate the community and discredit the Armenian genocide. Los Angeles police were reviewing surveillance footage and planned to boost patrols near the schools.
“It came as a complete shock and surprise in the sense we weren’t expecting it,” said Arpi Avanesian, principal of AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in Canoga Park, where Turkish flags were found. “I don’t know what this person was thinking about. Why today? What set them off to do this? What doesn’t shock me is they did it.”
Flags were also found hanging at Holy Martyrs Ferrahian High School, an Armenian school in Encino founded nearly 60 years ago by members of a generation of Armenian Genocide survivors, said Nora Hovsepian, chair of the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region.
“This is a direct affront to them and to their descendants,” Hovsepian said.