LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Detectives are investigating three hate crime assaults which took place during a large Armenian demonstration Tuesday outside the Azerbaijan Consulate in Brentwood which resulted in several clashes.
The demonstration happened in the 11700 block of Wilshire Boulevard and was organized by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The protest was over border tensions between the two countries which sparked earlier this month. According to the ANCA, on July 12, Azerbaijan began engaging in unprovoked armed confrontation along the border.
According to Los Angeles police, a crowd of Armenian protesters estimated at about 500 people gathered near the Azerbaijani Consulate Tuesday afternoon, while a second group of Azerbaijani counter-protesters, numbering about 30 to 50 people, lined up across the street from them.
The two sides eventually got into several small scuffles. Police on Thursday reported that three Azerbaijani protesters were assaulted during the altercations and were taken to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.
Detectives are investigating these assaults as hate crimes, the LAPD said. No arrests have been made in the case.
While setting up a skirmish line to keep the protesters out of the street, one LAPD officer suffered a laceration above his eye. Only one person was taken into custody during Tuesday’s protest for charges of assault on a police officer.
On Monday, a day prior to the protest, Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted his support for Armenia.
“We stand with the Armenian community against violence,” Garcetti wrote. “Azerbaijan must end its provocative and dangerous threats to strike Armenia’s civilian nuclear power plant, and must admit international monitors. Dialogue and diplomacy are the only paths to peace and safety for the region.”
Los Angeles has the largest Armenian population in the world outside of Armenia itself.