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LA Names Intersection 'Republic of Artsakh Square'

A very large group of protesters walks through a city street carrying Armenian and American flags. It is daytime.
Armenian Americans march through Hollywood's Little Armenia in 2018 as they commemorate the anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
(Frederic J. Brown
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On Tuesday the Los Angeles City Council voted to name the West L.A. intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Granville Avenue "Republic of Artsakh Square," in honor of an embattled region thousands of miles away that’s important to L.A.'s large Armenian community.

Sending a message: According to City Council President Paul Krekorian's office, the intersection was chosen because it's where Azerbaijan's Los Angeles consulate is located. Since December, a blockade by Azerbaijan of the only road connecting the region with neighboring Armenia has led to food shortages and other difficulties for people there.

“Azerbaijan's dictator has explicitly threatened genocide and called for the expulsion of all Armenians from territories he claims, once again threatening the annihilation of the Armenian people in their ancient homeland,” Krekorian said in an emailed statement. “We have taken this action to affirm the solidarity of the people of Los Angeles with the people of Artsakh.”

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The backstory: Artsakh is what Armenians call the Nagorno-Karabakh region, a contested area that belongs to Azerbaijan but is 95% ethnically Armenian. The self-declared Republic of Artsakh has its own government, although it’s not recognized by any U.N. member nation. Azerbaijan and Armenia have fought two wars over the territory, the most recent in 2020. Conflict escalated again in recent months.

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