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Southern California Armenians expected to march to LA’s Turkish Consulate today

Armenian Americans from around Southern California planned a demonstration and protest march to the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles to protest Turkey and Azerbaijan’s military assaults against Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh, today, Sunday, Oct. 11, at 3 p.m.

Organizers said large groups of marchers are expected to start at Pan Pacific Park, 7600 Beverly Blvd., and will proceed to the Turkish Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard.

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The mountainous region is controlled by ethnic Armenians but is inside Azerbaijani territory. Both sides have blamed the other for the clashes.

Southern California includes the largest collection of people of Armenian descent living outside of Armenia. Recent hostilities have marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh since a separatist war there ended in 1994.

Protests have taken place throughout L.A. County in recent days in response to the violence that was rekindled in Nagorno-Karabakh last month:

  • The Los Angeles Unified school board passed an emergency resolution late Tuesday, Oct. 6, condemning Azerbaijan’s “unprovoked” attack on ethnic Armenians in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh, as board members became the latest local officials to weigh in on the ongoing conflict overseas. The board also voted unanimously in a separate resolution to give students the day off on April 24 of each year, starting next school year for Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.
  • More than a dozen state, federal and Los Angeles city officials gathered on the steps of City Hall on Monday, Oct. 5 — including Council President Nury Martinez, Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, Councilman Paul Krekorian and Congressman Adam Schiff — to urge the U.S. to condemn Azerbaijan’s aggression as well as Turkish President Erdogan’s involvement.
  • More than 200 protesters marched to Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley on Friday Oct. 9 to call for U.S. action in the conflict.
  • And multiple other protests have been staged around greater L.A.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been engaged in conflicts for years, but the situation was kick-started in July when Azerbaijan threatened to blow up a nuclear power plant in Armenia.

Officials from Azerbaijan on Sunday accused Armenia of attacking its cities and villages in violation of the cease-fire deal brokered by Russia that seeks to end the hostilities.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said that Armenian forces shelled villages in the Aghdam, Terter, Aghjabedi and Fizuli regions of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani authorities earlier accused Armenian forces of firing missiles at Ganja, the country’s second largest city, and the city of Mingachevir overnight.

Nine civilians were killed and more than 30 others wounded in Ganja, officials said. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev called the attack on the city “a war crime” and a “gross” violation of the cease-fire on Twitter, promising “a befitting retaliation.”

Nagorno-Karabakh’s military officials denied attacking Ganja and said the territory’s army is observing the cease-fire. They added that during the night Azerbaijani forces shelled Stepanakert, the region’s capital, and other towns in violation of the truce.

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The recent bout of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces intensified Sept. 27 and left hundreds of people dead.

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a truce in Moscow after Russian President Vladimir Putin had brokered it in a series of calls with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.

The cease-fire took effect at noon Saturday, after talks in Moscow that were sponsored by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The deal stipulated that the cease-fire should pave the way for talks on settling the conflict.

If the truce had held, it would have marked a major diplomatic coup for Russia, which has a security pact with Armenia but also cultivated warm ties with Azerbaijan.

However, minutes after the cease-fire took force, both sides accused each other of continuing attacks in violation of the deal.

The situation in the region was “relatively calm” on Sunday morning, according to Nagorno-Karabakh leader Arayik Harutyunyan, with only minor hostilities along the front line. But it was unclear whether the calm would last, he said.

Later Sunday, Armenian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanian reported attacks by Azerbaijani forces on southern and northeastern directions, saying that Nagorno-Karabakh’s forces “resolutely suppress all enemy operations.”

Nagorno-Karabakh’s army in a statement Sunday promised a “disproportionately harsh” response if Azerbaijan “continues to violate the cease-fire.” The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said that “the political and military leadership of Armenia bears the responsibility for the aggravation of the situation in the region.”

Azerbaijan’s president said in an interview with the Russian RBC news outlet that “if the Armenian side is committed to the cease-fire regime … the phase of political settlement will begin.”

 

 


Source: Orange County Register

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