A century after a genocide that left 1.5 million Armenians dead, thousands of their descendants took the streets of Los Angeles in remembrance on Friday, while also demanding recognition from the perpetrators, the Burbank Leader reports.
The Armenian Genocide took place between 1915 and 1923 and was carried out by the Ottoman Empire, but the modern-day Turkish government continues to object to categorizing the event as a genocide.
Most of 130,000 people who marched six miles from Little Armenia in Hollywood to the Turkish embassy on the Westside to protest had relatives who were victims in the mass killings or managed to escape.
At the march, which was sponsored by the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee Western USA, the trio of the colors that make up the Armenian flag — red, blue and orange — were hoisted by many of the marchers as well as the flags of other countries that eventually became home to displaced survivors.
Amid the many signs aimed at shaming the Turkish government for its continued denial, several placards bore messages of gratitude toward countries such as Sweden, France and the Netherlands for acknowledging the genocide.
Vatican City was also among the countries thanked after Pope Francis recalled Pope St. John Paul II’s statement that the mass killings of Armenians were “the first genocide of the 20th century.”
The United States has been reluctant to call the events a genocide mainly because Turkey is a key ally in the Middle East.
President Obama, most recently, didn’t use the word “genocide” in his annual remarks on the mass killings, referring to them as a “calamity.”