HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — Protesters who the California Highway Patrol said appear to be associated with Armenian human rights groups were blocking traffic on both sides of the 101 Freeway in Hollywood on Saturday night.
The demonstrators were holding the Armenian flag and occupying freeway lanes for about an hour, prompting traffic to come to a standstill and impacting travel as far as downtown L.A.
Traffic was flowing in northbound lanes around 10:45 p.m. after protesters were ordered to leave the roadways, but the southbound side remained partially blocked.
An earlier protest at Sunset Blvd. and Cahuenga Blvd. were organized by the Armenian Youth Federation, which organized a protest last week outside the Azerbaijan consulate that drew over 1,000 people.
Several CHP officers came out to the scene on Saturday night and declared an unlawful assembly before dispersing the groups.
Protesters in Hollywood supporting Armenia in its conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region
Activists were protesting in support of Armenia against what they say is aggression from the country of Azerbaijan against Armenia and Artsakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh.
Longstanding tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan flared up again on Sept. 27 in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh is controlled by ethnic Armenians but lies inside Azerbaijani territory. Azerbaijan has long expressed its intent to take control of the territory.
Both sides have accused the other of attacking civilians during the clash, which is possibly the most violent since Armenia and Azerbaijan’s 1994 ceasefire.
The Los Angeles metropolitan area has the largest population of Armenians in the world outside of Armenia.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)