ENCINO (CBSLA) – Turkish flags were hung early Tuesday morning at two Armenian schools in the San Fernando Valley, prompting a police investigation.
Numerous flags were found at Holy Martyrs Ferrahian High School at 5300 White Oak Ave. in Encino and at AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in the 6844 of Oakdale Ave. in Canoga Park, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The hanging of flags at Holy Martyrs were being investigated as a possible hate crime because whoever did it trespassed onto the grounds. More than a dozen flags were hung outside the AGBU Manoogian Demirdjian campus, making that case a possible “hate incident,” according to LAPD Officer Jeff Lee.
Investigators were checking security video for clues.
School administrations and local leaders are condemning the acts, affirming it’s disrespectful to victims’ families of the Armenian genocide.
The Turkish Ottoman Empire is blamed for the deaths of more than one million Armenians about a century ago. Turkey insists the deaths were the result of a brutal war.
“To put a Turkish flag on an Armenian institution would equate to putting a swastika in a synagogue or something like that,” AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School Principal Arpi Avanesian said.
Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian issued a statement calling the targeted schools “sanctuaries of safety, education, culture and dream-building for thousands of young students” and “institutions that are cherished by parents and educators and our entire community,” including the councilman’s own family.
“This grotesque orchestrated attack on these schools is a disgusting act of hate, designed to terrorize children and an entire community,” Krekorian said.
Police have pledged that the perpetrators would be pursued and steps taken to ensure students are safe, Krekorian said.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)