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LA County Board of Supervisors Condemns Azerbaijan's Military Attack On Armenians, Following Weeks Of LA Protests

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People hold signs as they stand with members of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) as they hold a protest outside the Azerbaijani Consulate General in Los Angeles on September 30, 2020 to protest what they call Azerbaijan's "aggression against Armenia and Artsakh." (Valerie Macon / AFP via Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted today to condemn Azerbaijan's military operation against the Armenian community in Nagorno-Karabakh, and to denounce Turkey's interference in the conflict.

The resolution introduced by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn support a similar statement from the U.S. House of Representatives.

Hahn said the attack was both undemocratic and unaccceptable:

"Azerbaijan military forces launched a deadly and unprovoked attack against the republic of Artsakh...the reckless invasion is a direct threat to the Armenians that have lived in Artsakh for centuries, but also to regional stability and to fundamental united states interest, including democracy."

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A woman wearing the flag of Armenia as a face mask stands with the Armenian Youth Federation as they hold a protest outside the Azerbaijani Consulate General(Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)
The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan broke out on September 27, over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which belongs to Azerbaijan under international law, although most of the population is made of up ethnic Armenians. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tacitly supported military action by Azerbaijan.

The board's resolution comes after several weeks of protests from the local Armenian community. Los Angeles County is home to the largest Armenian immigrant population in the U.S.

On Oct. 11, tens of thousands rallied around the Turkish consulate in Beverly Hills, chanting "Artsahk wants peace! Shame on Turkey!".

L.A. Times reporter Lila Seidman told KPCC's Take Two, that when she was driving to cover the protest, which began at Pan Pacific Park in mid-city, she passed cars with Armenian flags waving as far east as Silver Lake. "It dawned on me that this was going to be a big protest," she said, adding that when she arrived, it was clear the protest was multi-generations, with grandparents, children and groups of friends in their teens.

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"I would say the energy was almost triumphant," Seidman explained. "The feeling of solidarity and mutual support was palpable. But then at times that was broken by heavier emotion -- Armenians see this as an existential threat to their people, so there is an underlying solemnity and seriousness in the words that people are saying and the signs that you see."

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Children hold signs as they stand with members of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) during a protest outside the Azerbaijani Consulate General in Los Angeles on September 30, 2020 to protest what they call Azerbaijan's "aggression against Armenia and Artsakh" (Nagorno-Karabakh). (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)

LAPD's Wilshire Station tweeted that the crowd numbered 100,000 on Oct 11. Peaceful marching continued in midcity the following day.

Liana Aghajanian, an Armenian-American journalist who writes about issues of diaspora identity, explained the significance of the local protests to Take Two's host, A. Martinez:

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"Armenians really view this escalation of the conflict as a matter of life and death...and in terms of global population, we [Armenians] only number about 10 million, and we're largely spread out across the world because of the Armenian Genocide, and so even one life lost is too many, whether that's on the frontline or civilians, and certainly both have happened over the last two weeks. This coupled with the fact that the U.S. government and other governments around the world have had a quite luke warm response or lack of response as well as the lack of mainstream media coverage is really what's fueling people to come out on the streets."

Aghajanian added that local Armenians are feeling frustrated, angry and anxious, worried that another generation is going to have to experience yet another war and the trauma that war will inevitably create.

"I think for some people it feels like such a far-away conflict," she said. "But for Armenians, because we're such a small community, it's closer than ever. For example, my social news feeds are full of obituatires and tributes to people that have died. And so the degrees of separation between what's going on thousands of miles away and someone physically being in Los Angeles is very, very small."

MORE ABOUT LA PROTESTS FOR ARMENIANS:

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