Tens of thousands of Armenian Americans and their allies marched to the Turkish consulate in Beverly Hills Sunday to decry the bloodshed in Nagorno-Karabakh, a region bordering Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Video showed the massive procession make its way from the Fairfax area to Beverly Hills, with demonstrators waving Armenian flags and raising signs, some of which read “Armenia wants peace,” “Artsakh is Armenia” and “Turkey guilty of war crimes.”
In a sea of red, blue and orange, demonstrators flooded Wilshire Boulevard in a passionate call for peace. LAPD’s Wilshire station said it estimated 100,000 people participated in the peaceful march.
“In coming together today as a community, we’re hoping to demonstrate, through this great show of solidarity, is the need for the international community to act, the need for the international community to condemn Azerbaijan and Turkey’s aggression and to immediately place sanctions on Turkey and Azerbaijan and all military assistance to those two countries,” Alex Galitsky of the Armenian National Committee of America told KTLA as he stood among the demonstrators.
Fighting broke out on Sept. 27 in Nagorno-Karabakh, or Artsakh, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but is a separatist region largely populated by ethnic Armenians.
Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a Russia-brokered cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh starting Saturday, but immediately accused each other of derailing the deal intended to end the worst outbreak of hostilities in the separatist region in more than a quarter-century.
Turkey is offering strong political support to Azerbaijan, and Armenian officials say Turkey is involved in the conflict and is sending Syrian mercenaries to fight on Azerbaijan’s side. Turkey has denied deploying combatants to the region, but a Syrian war monitor and three Syria-based opposition activists have confirmed that Turkey has sent hundreds of Syrian opposition fighters to fight in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The violence has since prompted several protests in Los Angeles, home to the largest population of Armenians outside the country itself.
The march in Beverly Hills began 3 p.m. at Pan Pacific Park on 7600 Beverly Blvd. in the Fairfax district and traveled to the Turkish consulate on 8500 Wilshire Blvd. Organizers told participants that masks are mandatory and social distancing requirements will be enforced.
A group of demonstrators also participated from their vehicles, blocking a roadway in Beverly Hills with cars displaying Armenian flags.
The Beverly Hills Police Department warned of possible road closures in the area.