LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Tens of thousands of people descended on Hollywood and Mid-City Wednesday in two separate marches to mark the 104th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
The first march, sponsored by Unified Young Armenians, began at 10 a.m. near Hollywood and Hobart boulevards and ended at Sunset and Hobart boulevards.
At 1 p.m., the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region and several other groups staged a march outside the Turkish Consulate at 6300 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and U.S. representatives Brad Sherman and Adam Schiff took part.
There were multiple street closures, including a stretch of Wilshire Boulevard. Drivers were told to expect delays and advised to avoid both areas.
The Armenian genocide began in 1915 and resulted in the deaths of as many as 1.5 million Armenians in a campaign blamed on Turkey’s Ottoman government. Turkey has denied it occurred, saying the deaths of Armenians was a function of the chaos of World War I, which also claimed Turkish lives.
U.S. presidents have also refused to recognize the killings as a genocide, instead calling the mass deaths an atrocity.
More than 200,000 people of Armenian descent live in Los Angeles County, making it home to the largest Armenian community outside of Armenia.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared Wednesday as “A Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide” The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to recognize April 24 as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.
President Donald Trump released a statement Wednesday regarding the genocide. It read in part:
“Today, we commemorate the Meds Yeghern and honor the memory of those who suffered in one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century. Beginning in 1915, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. On this day of remembrance, we again join the Armenian community in America and around the world in mourning the many lives lost.”
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)