Armenians crowded Los Angeles in front of the Turkish Consulate April 24 to demand recognition of the 1915 massacres, perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire.
“The loss of 1.5 million Armenians isn’t something we can just get over,” said 16-year old Crescenta Valley High School sophomore Talar Levonyan.
Organized by the Armenian Youth Federation Western Region, streets were blocked, security was ready and volunteer workers guided the protesters through the march, making sure they stayed within their protesting area.
Armenians ranging from 3-year- old toddlers to 95-year-old elders, paced back and forth in front of the the Turkish Consulate in hopes of getting both the United States and Turkey to recognize the 1915 genocide, holding pickets signs and chanting “1915 Never Again” and “Shame on Turkey.”
Nina Amirian, an AYF member, was one of the speakers and organizers of the event, along with Shant Meguerditchian, an AYF central executive.
“Although April 24 is a sad day in history, it has a redeeming quality to it. This day in history brings all Armenians together around the world to unite for this common cause,” Amirian said.
Flocks of Armenian cyclists commemorated the event by wearing red, blue and orange uniforms with “Armenia” written across their thighs, filling the street next to the protest.
The “High Riders,” which is a club of Armenian motorcyclists, decorated their leather jackets with Armenian Flags and the Armenian seal. The noise of the motorcycles brought more attention to the issue, as some cars slowed down to see what the big commotion was.
Civic leaders, community activists, students and families across the state came together to publicly reprimand the Turkish government for its denial, and to demanded justice.
Gor Bakunts, a freshman at John Marshall High School, said that the more Armenians protest, the more recognition they gain for the genocide.
“It brings awareness to the fact that people were unjustly killed,” Bakunts said. “Even if we have to protest every year, we won’t give up.”