LOS ANGELES–Protesters gathered at the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles on April 24 demanding Turkish recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
The protest–one of many events commemorating the Armenian Genocide–attracted 4000 community members. The relatively youthful crowd picketed across almost two blocks of Wilshire Blvd. with signs reading "Genocide Unpunished is Genocide Encouraged," and "Turkey Stop Historical Revisionism."
"The Turkish government must be punished for its crime of genocide–and proper financial and territorial reparations must be made," said Vicken Sosikian–Public Affairs Director of the Armenian Youth Federation. "The Holocaust–Rwanda–Cambodia–and even 21st century crimes against humanity could have been avoided had the Young Turk government of 1915 been punished."
About two hours after marching on Wilshire Blvd. the protesters gathered in front of the Turkish Consulate–where Melkon Melkonian–Chairman of the AYF addressed the crowd from atop of a cargo truck–make shift stage.
Melkonian said that over 80 percent of the protesters were youth–showing the Turkish government that the newest generation of the Armenian American community is well politicized–proactive and educated on the Genocide issue–and dedicated to working for its just recognition. The protest in front of the Turkish Consulate–organized for the last two decades on April 24–attracted all major broadcast and print media and concluded with the singing of the Armenian National Anthem.
"The important thing to remember is that today’s territory of Armenia is a fraction of what it was prior to the regime of the Ottoman Empire and the Young Turk government of the region," said Raffi Semerdjian Chairman of the AYF Public Relations Central Council. "The Armenian Youth Federation will not only continue its work until the Genocide is recognized by Turkey and the United States–but also until our lands are returned and just reparations are made," concluded Semerdjian.