LOS ANGELES- In response to the recent shelling of Armenian villages in Artsakh (also known Nagorno-Karabakh) by Azerbaijan, Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Krekorian and other elected officials are joining with Armenian-American civic and religious leaders to make a call for peace in the Caucusus region where violence by Azerbaijan’s government has taken dozens of innocent lives in recent days. The vigil comes just days after a protest of 3,000 community members outside Azerbaijan’s consulate in Los Angeles.
The conflict erupted just over a week ago after Azerbaijan killed Armenian civilians and soldiers, in violation of a two-decade old, internationally recognized cease fire. Among the casualties were young children and elderly grandparents in small, rural villages. The conflict is especially sensitive to stability in the region as any additional escalation in violence could spark a wider regional conflict, pulling in Russia and Turkey.
The Community Vigil for Peace in Artsakh will take place on Tuesday April 12 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Los Angeles City Hall (South Lawn), 200 N. Main St., LA 90012.
“This is a critical human rights issue for the Armenian-American community and anyone who cares about peace and justice,” said LA Councilmember Paul Krekorian. “Our own U.S. government is a beacon of hope and democracy in the world and must use its influence and ensure stability in this vital region. Elected officials and community organizations are gathering to urge peace and to speak out on behalf of the victims of this inexcusable violence.”
Expected to attend the event are LA City Councilmembers Paul Krekorian, Herb Wesson Jr., Nury Martinez, Mitch O’Farrell and David Ryu; LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, Mayor Eric Garcetti, along with many hundreds of community members, city employees and others.
Twenty five years ago, the people of Artsakh declared independence from Azerbaijan. Their demand for self-determination in their historic homeland was met with Azeri pogroms and a devastating war in the Caucasus region. Against all odds, these people defeated the much larger and better armed Azerbaijani forces and established a free, independent and democratic Republic of Artsakh, following in the tradition of the revolutionary founders of the United States of America.
Since the ceasefire in 1994, Artsakh has flourished, despite constant threats and violent provocations by Azerbaijan. Last week, Azerbaijan broke ceasefire with unprovoked full scale military attacks on the people of Artsakh, just days after the U.S. government emphasized to Azerbaijan’s president the importance of continuing to seek a permanent peace.
The vigil will promote peace in the region and urge the U.S. government to speak out against Azerbaijan’s military aggression.