GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) --Thousands came out in Glendale Saturday night to remember victims of the Armenian massacre. More than 100 years after the slaughter began, there's still controversy over whether it should be referred to as genocide.
A somber melody filled Perkins Plaza as people gathered for a candlelight vigil. They honored the 1.5 million Armenians massacred by the Ottoman Turks beginning in 1915.
Historians regard April 24, 1915, as the unfolding of the Armenian Genocide. Modern Turkey denies it was genocide and the United States has not used the word genocide to describe the killings. For decades now, Armenians have demanded that recognition.
"It means a lot to me if Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide. And if Obama recognizes the Armenian Genocide, I'll be very thankful for that," said Narek Karivyan of Los Angeles.
Actor and activist George Clooney was in Armenia over the weekend to give a humanitarian award. He spoke briefly with reporters about the debate over using the word genocide.
"I think it's ridiculous not to talk about it - in terms of genocide - because, of course, it was," he said.
Armenians attending the vigil said their country isn't the only one to experience the atrocities of genocide. They said it's a humanitarian issue.
"This is not only Armenian. The people have to be united and understand what is going on here, in this planet," said Tigran Karivyan.
Thousands of people were expected to march through Little Armenia Sunday morning and hold a rally at at 1 p.m.