Thousands March In LA For Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day
Thousands of people gathered today in Los Angeles for two marches in honor of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.
They want Turkey -- and people around the world -- to acknowledge the systematic massacre of Armenians that occurred between 1915 and 1923. That was the period when the rulers of the Ottoman Empire killed 1.5 million Armenians and forcibly deported thousands more.
Despite the consensus of scholars and academics, only a handful of countries, approximately two dozen, officially recognize the Armenian Genocide. The United States is not one of them. No modern U.S. President has recognized the genocide -- although 49 of 50 U.S. states recognize it.
Turkey also refuses to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, maintaining that the deaths of so many Armenian people were the result of World War I.
In 2016, after Germany recognized the Armenian Genocide, Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said, "Our attitude on the Armenian issue has been clear from the beginning. We will never accept the accusations of genocide."
Genocide remembrance marches have become major annual events in Los Angeles, which is home to largest Armenian community anywhere outside of Armenia.
At 10 a.m., people gathered at Hollywood and Hobart boulevards, in L.A.'s Little Armenia, for a march sponsored by Unified Young Armenians. The group marched in a rectangular route east on Hollywood Blvd., south on Normandie Ave., west on Sunset Blvd. and north on Hobart Blvd.
Later, at 1 p.m., thousands of people gathered at Wilshire and Crescent Heights boulevards, outside the Turkish consulate, for the March for Justice.
Expect street closures and major traffic in the Hollywood, Miracle Mile, Beverly Grove and mid-city areas throughout the day.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Unified School District passed a resolution granting special recognition to the memory of the Armenian Genocide. The resolution asks LAUSD superintendent Austin Beutner to consider making April 24 a school holiday and instituting a professional development program about the genocide.
The move was launched by a group of parents at Mountain View Elementary in Sunland-Tujunga, where approximately 85% of the school's students are of Armenian descent, according to The Daily News. It is also home to the district's first dual language program in Armenian.
KPCC/LAist reporter Aaron Schrank will be on the scene of the March for Justice. You can follow him on Twitter as he posts live updates from the scene.