Hundreds gathered in Hollywood, Saturday, protesting the recent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Waving Armenian flags and holding signs that read, “Condemn Turkey and Azerbaijan,” “Stop Azerbaijan aggression” and “Armenia wants peace,” the protesters made their way toward CNN’s Hollywood offices with calls for more national coverage of the military fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
“Our protesting isn’t for money or aid to our country,” Protester Vahe Kallibjian said of the marching. “It’s for the media to take off their blinders and do their job by national and international coverage of a modern day Genocide the Turks are trying to continue from a century ago.”
In the afternoon hours, several protesters made their way onto the 101 freeway, stopping traffic on both sides. At that point, the protest was declared an “unlawful assembly” as California Highway Patrol worked to get people off the roads and get traffic moving.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti addressed the protesters on Sunday, saying:
“L.A. is proud to be home to the largest Armenian diaspora. We stand with the people of Armenia. I urge our leaders in Washington to conduct the sustained and rigorous diplomacy necessary to bring peace to the Artsakh region. Turkey must disengage.”
On September 27, the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Artsakh, Jalal Harutyunyan, gave notice about Azerbaijani army attacks on Armenian forces in Artsakh, which have led to back-and-forth attacks throughout the week.
“About four years after the hostilities in 2016, the enemy again resorted to force,” Harutyunyan said. “On the morning of September 27, the Azerbaijani army attacked the entire length of the line of contact with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and ATS strikes. At the moment, the units of the Defense Army are successfully thwarting the enemy’s plans, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy.”
Armenia’s Press secretary of the Minister of Defense, Shushan Stepanyan also confirmed the attacks through a Facebook update, saying, “The opponent started an air and rocket attack in the direction of Artsakh,” and later said that Turkish planes were involved in the attacks.
A week prior to the attacks, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry put out a statement claiming that Armenian forces killed a Azerbaijani soldier at the Armenian border on September 21.
“Today, the Armenian armed forces undertook another provocation in the direction of the Tovuz region of Azerbaijan,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said. “As a result of the fire opened by the enemy, a soldier of the Azerbaijani army Mammadov Elshan Ali Oglu was killed.”
Stepanyan, denied the Azerbaijani claims, saying the Armenian side had no information about a killed soldier.
Since the initial attacks, Stepanyan has provided daily updates through Facebook, detailing what is happening on the ground.
On Saturday, Azerbaijan claimed to have seized several Armenian villages, according to AP, and in an interview with Al Jazeera, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian confirmed that Azerbaijan had attacked civilian territory.
“Turkey and Azerbaijan are pursuing not only military-political goals,” Nikol Pashinian said on Saturday. “Their goal is Armenia, their goal is continuation of the genocide of Armenians.”
Sources close to L.A. Weekly have confirmed that protests will continue in Glendale, Sunday.