The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region, through its proactive consultations with Los Angeles City Councilmembers, the Mayor’s Office, the Los Angeles Police Department, and state legislators’ offices, confirms that the organizers of the Ottoman Military Marching Band, who were planning on holding a procession on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles on October 3, have decided to pull their permit and cancel the event.
The ANCA-WR also commends the strength and unity of the Los Angeles Armenian American community, which collectively voiced its shock that such an event was taking place and exemplified its readiness to quickly mobilize to address this grievous transgression.
Although no reason was given for the cancellation, the widespread outrage in the community, and concurrent well-publicized announcement by the Armenian Youth Federation calling for a massive protest, undoubtedly impacted the organizers’ decision to ultimately retreat from their ill-conceived plan to hold this event just one mile from the border of Little Armenia in Hollywood.
In addition to bringing these serious concerns to the attention of elected officials, the ANCA-WR two days ago also led the community in strongly condemning the planned arrival of the offensively-named band and likewise questioned the irresponsible decision by officials of the City of Los Angeles to issue a permit to a group who claims descent from the notoriously murderous corps of the Ottoman Army known as the janissaries. Within 24 hours of the ANCA-WR statement, the event was canceled.
The violent and bloody history of the Ottoman Turkish Military, during which it perpetrated the Armenian Genocide of 1915, where 1.5 million Armenians were mercilessly slaughtered, made the appearance of the Ottoman Military Marching Band in a city with over 500,000 Armenian Americans, many who are descendants of the Genocide, a clear cut example of hate speech and incitement.
In solidarity with the Armenian American community, Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian, in a strongly worded statement, underscored the ludicrousness of the event: “This planned performance, supposedly to celebrate an event taking place in Orange County, is a provocation of the Armenian community at a time when the community celebrates 20 years of Armenian independence.” The statement continued, aptly highlighting the significance of the issue in saying that “the 1915 Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire is a wound that continues to fester.”
The ANCA-WR also thanks California State Senator Kevin De Leon’s concern about this issue and his staff’s assistance in diligently attending to this matter while regularly communicating with our staff.
Given the extreme sensitivity of this issue, the ANCA-WR continues to work with City officials to ensure that the issue is definitively resolved and that similar instances in the future will receive the careful scrutiny that they deserve on the part of elected representatives and City employees.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.