Rally calls for Azerbaijan to end blockade as Armenians plan major rally on Monday

City News Service
Monday, April 24, 2023
Rally calls for Azerbaijan to end blockade of critical roadway
A rally seeking an immediate end to Azerbaijan's blockade of the Lachin Corridor was held on Sunday evening outside the Azerbaijan Consulate in Brentwood.

BRENTWOOD, LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- A rally seeking an immediate end to Azerbaijan's blockade of the Lachin Corridor was held on Sunday evening outside the Azerbaijan Consulate in Brentwood in connection with Monday's 108th anniversary of the start of the events that are widely viewed by scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century.

A series of clashes erupted along the Azerbaijan-Armenia border in September, resulting in at least 200 deaths. Following a ceasefire, Azerbaijan began a blockade of the Lachin Corridor Dec. 12, preventing humanitarian aid, basic supplies, and outside support from reaching approximately 120,000 civilians there.

"They cut it off during the winter, and it's freezing. People are cold," said Arevik Gavrielyman, an Aermenian American at the rally Sunday. "They're not able to turn on the heaters, get warm. They are not able to go to the grocery store and get anything. All the grocery stores are empty. There is nothing to eat. Nothing to do. All the roads are closed. We can't get food in, and that's what we're here for. To fight for basic human rights."

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, who spoke at Sunday's rally, was among the authors of a resolution condemning the blockade and encouraging the United States and the international community to petition the United Nations Security Council and other appropriate international bodies to investigate any possible war crimes committed by Azerbaijani forces.

In February, Schiff invited Robert Avetisyan, the permanent representative of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic to the United States, to be his guest at President Joe Biden's State of the Union address.

The territory of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. It is called Artsakh by Armenians.

The rally was being organized by Unified Young Armenians, which is also organizing an "Armenian Genocide Commemorative Rally for Justice" at 10 a.m. Monday at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue in Little Armenia.

Glendale will conduct its 22nd annual Armenian Genocide Commemorative Event at 7 p.m. Monday at the Alex Theatre, with the theme, "The Armenian Experience Through the Lens," celebrating the 100th anniversary of Armenian cinema.

Dozens of Armenian American protesters gathered at the Getty House Tuesday night in hopes of bringing awareness to the ongoing blockade that is cutting off a vital road linking Armenia to the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

A bill establishing Genocide Remembrance Day as a state holiday to be observed on April 24 and permitting public schools and community colleges to close in observance of this holiday, was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom Sept. 29.

"Genocide commemoration is more than a history lesson. It is a powerful tool to engage people across generations in the sanctity of human rights, the enormity of crimes, and how to prevent future atrocities," Newsom wrote in his signing message for AB 1801 by then-Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D- North Hollywood.

Schools will be closed in the Los Angeles Unified School District Monday to commemorate Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day under a policy adopted by its Board of Education in 2020. Since the 2013-14 school year, students and teachers in the Glendale Unified School District have been given the day off on April 24 for Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.

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.

An Armenian Genocide commemoration was held in Montebello Saturday.

Schiff and Reps. Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, and Linda Sanchez, D- Whittier, Sens. Bob J. Archuleta, D-Pico Rivera, and Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian and Montebello Mayor David Torres were among the speakers at the 11 a.m. commemoration at the Montebello Armenian Genocide Monument in Bicknell Park.

The commemoration also included a religious ceremony, musical performances and placement of flowers.

The event was organized by the United Armenian Council of Los Angeles.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.