LOS ANGELES—More than 10,000 community members—mainly youth—heeded the call by the Armenian Youth Federation and protested Turkey’s continued denial of the Armenian Genocide in front of the Turkish Consulate Saturday, forcing the closure of Wilshire Boulevard.
The orderly crowd marched in front of the building housing the Turkish Consulate, chanting slogans and waving the Armenian tri-color.
AYF Central Executive Chairman Arek Santikian’s impassioned remarks directed at the Turkish authorities and addressing the US’s continued denial of the Genocide asserted the Armenian people’s continued commitment to fight for justice. The incredible youth presence also reinforced that the new generation is as actively engaged in the pursuit of the Armenian Cause as those that came before it.
When Santikian began naming the countries that have already recognized the Armenian Genocide, flags of the those countries were raised by members of the AYF who were lined up in front of the U-Haul truck that served as a podium and a stage.
Santikian went on to indict President Obama for, once again, failing to use the word “Genocide” in his annual statement. Elected officials, Santikian said, must serve the interest of their constituents, first, and not foreign governments, alluding that the Obama Administration, like other before him, was giving in to Turkish pressure.
Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian also echoed Santikian’s statements in calling on the Obama Administration to recognize the Armenian Genocide. He commended the gathered for their continued pursuit of justice. He also acknowledged the Los Angeles Police and Fire departments for their role in ensuring the safety of the crowd.
Community activist and former AYF CE chairman Mikael Melkonian also made comments in Armenian.
The developments of last year and the increasing vitriol of late by the Turkish leadership propelled a more vocal expression of protest on the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. This year’s demonstration was, by far, one of the more impressive both in its organization and in attendance of recent years.