BRENTWOOD— On Wednesday evening, September 30, over 1,000 Armenian-Americans and supporters held a protest at the Azerbaijan Consulate in Brentwood. Organized by the Armenian Youth Federation, the protest was held against alleged Azerbaijani aggression targeted at Armenia and Artsakh.
The Republic of Artsakh, or the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, is an autonomous state in the Caucasus. It has an overwhelming Armenian population, and is governed by Armenians.
In 1921, Joseph Stalin granted the territory to Azerbaijan, to placate its ally, Turkey. With the dissolution of the USSR, conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated to war between 1988 and 1994. There have been additional border clashes in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020.
The latest, and ongoing fighting, started on September 27. Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused the other of provocation, with Turkey supporting Azerbaijan. According to international news channel France24, there have been over 100 casualties.
Azerbaijan has been accused of shooting down an Armenian warplane with a Turkish F-16 fighter jet. Additionally, they have been accused of recruiting Syrian rebels to fight as mercenaries.
The Los Angeles metropolitan area has the largest population of Armenians outside of Armenia. Approximately 10 LAPD officers oversaw the protest in Brentwood without interference.
Protesters held dozens of Armenian flags among the crowd. Organizers lead chants like “stop Aliyev,” “stay out Erdogan,” “no more war” and “Armenia wants peace.” Protesters then sang the Armenian national anthem in unison to conclude the protest.
Armenian-American protesters gather outside the Azerbaijan Consulate. September 30, 2020. Video courtesy of @ayfwest via Instagram.
Armenians have staged protests in other cities including: Athens, Frankfurt, Valence, Washington DC and more.
President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan has said Armenia “need[s] to leave our territory, and then, the war will stop and then the conflict will come to an end.”
He added: “I think Armenian government overestimated their so-called importance on global arena, overestimated the possible international support to them and made very serious mistakes provoking us, attacking us and now they are suffering the very serious defeat.”
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in an interview with Al Jazeera: “In the situation when there is a large-scale aggression, I can say with confidence that the people of Karabakh will not retreat in the face of the aggression.”