LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Hundreds in Southern California attended rallies Monday to commemorate the 108th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
The "Armenian Genocide Commemorative Rally for Justice" began at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue. It is organized by Unified Young Armenians, which also organized a rally Sunday outside the Azerbaijan Consulate in Brentwood seeking an immediate end to Azerbaijan's blockade of the Lachin Corridor. Organizers say it has left thousands of civilians without food, water and other vital supplies.
A demonstration was held in Beverly Hills as well.
On Monday, the Armenian community is commemorating victims of the genocide and raising awareness for the ongoing conflict.
"A genocide denied is a genocide continued. Because there hasn't been justice, Turkey has not been held accountable...," one man told Eyewitness News. "They're allied nation, Azerbaijan, is actually carrying out what is a modern day ethnic cleansing in the Armenian region of Artsakh. It's really important to tie that narrative together and make it clear to people that if you don't hold the perpetrators of genocide accountable, it's going to continue."
On Sunday, Rep. Adam Schiff joined demonstrators in calling for the end of the blockade in Artsakh and said he is working on legislation that would recognize Artsakh as an independent region.
At noon, the Armenian Youth Federation held a "Rally for Humanity" outside the Turkish Consulate at 8500 Wilshire Blvd., themed "Remember the past, defend the future."
"The perpetrators of the genocide, the Turkish government, still deny to this day. So that's why we're out here today, to raise awareness, place pressure on them and carry the momentum forward," said Nareg Kuyumgian, a protester.
"I love my people. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my people united standing together and happy about us being here. us being alive," said Narek Doganyan.
Meanwhile, schools in the Los Angeles and Glendale unified school districts were closed Monday for Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.
The LAUSD Board of Education adopted a policy in 2020 to close schools on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Students and teachers in the Glendale Unified School District have been given the day off on April 24 for Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day since the 2013-14 school year.
Glendale hosted its 22nd annual Armenian Genocide Commemorative Event at the Alex Theatre Monday evening, with the theme "The Armenian Experience Through the Lens,'' celebrating the 100th anniversary of Armenian cinema.
The program began with a tribute to the atrocities in the Nagorno Karabakh region in an attempt to raise awareness of humanitarian crises. It also included a preview of Armenia's submission for the 2023 Oscars best international film category, "Aurora's Sunrise," an animated documentary based on the life of Aurora Mardiganian, an Armenian Genocide survivor who after her escape became an actress in the United States.
The keynote address was delivered by actor Joe Manganiello, who discussed intergenerational trauma, drawing from his familial history and the story of his maternal great-grandmother, Terviz "Rose" Darakijan, who survived the Armenian Genocide, organizers said.
On April 24, 1915, Ottoman authorities arrested Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople, leading to an estimated 1.5 million people being killed. Turkey denies the deaths constituted genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.
"As we join nations around the world in remembering this painful history, we also reflect on the resilience and resolve of the Armenian people," President Joe Biden said in a statement on what the White House billed as Armenian Remembrance Day. "So many of those who survived were forced to begin new lives in new lands -- including the United States.
"Here and around the world, the Armenian people have met the evil of hate with hope. They rebuilt their communities. They nurtured their families and preserved their culture. They strengthened our nation. They also told their stories -- and those of their ancestors -- to remember and to ensure that genocide like the one that happened 108 years ago is never again repeated."
City News Service contributed to this report.