LA Armenians Gather As President Biden Recognizes Killings As Genocide
Large numbers of the Armenian community and their allies gathered in L.A on Saturday as President Biden formally recognized the Ottoman Empire's killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians more than a century ago as genocide.
Southern California has the largest population of Armenians outside Armenia, and the long-awaited pronouncement was at the center of several events being held in L.A. on Saturday to commemorate the 106th anniversary of the genocide.
Many attended the Armenian Genocide Commemorative March For Justice which began in Hollywood at 10am.
The largest Armenian American community marches through Hollywood after Pres Biden declares killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire a century ago a genocide.— Josie Huang (@josie_huang) April 24, 2021
It’s a usually somber event but marchers say this year is mixed with some happiness. pic.twitter.com/3ivodrjWh8
A noon protest took place outside the Turkish consulate in Beverly Hills.
Rep. Adam Schiff held a press conference in Burbank to mark the moment, joined by other members of Congress including Jimmy Gomez, Judy Chu, and Tony Cardenas.
Thirty countries have made that declaration, but the U.S., sensitive about upsetting relations with NATO ally Turkey, has always resisted it. Turkey, the successor to the Ottoman Empire, fervently denies it was genocide.
Formal recognition of the genocide by a U.S. president is meaningful, said Alex Galitsky of the Armenian National Committee of America's Western Region:
"It's made all the more important for us today by the fact that many of the challenges that the Armenian people faced 106 years ago continue to this day. We saw that when Turkey supported Azerbaijan's assault and invasion on the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh. And since then we've seen horrific human rights abuses be perpetrated against the Armenian people."
Biden pledged to officially recognize the killings as genocide while he campaigned last year. The House and Senate voted for formal recognition in 2019.