LOS ANGELES–Members of the Armenian Youth Federation began a hunger strike Wednesday night at the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles in protest of Turkey’s continued denial of the Armenian Genocide.
With a banner reading "Armenian Youth Hunger Strike for the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide," eight members of the AYF from various chapters throughout the Western Region assumed their places at the Turkish Consulate entrance on June Street and Wilshire Boulevard.
The strike is scheduled to continue through Friday–when thousands are expected to gather at the Turkish Consulate for a demonstration against Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide.
To fill their time–the hunger strikers will be distributing information fact sheets to passersby and will also circulate a petition–initiated by the AYF/ANC Political Action Task Force–urging President Bill Clinton to recognize the Armenian Genocide–in light of his recent commen’s regarding the Tutsi massacres in Rwanda.
The hunger strikers–Tro Khayalian (Pasadena "Nigol Touman" chapter)–Patyl Anserian (Glendale "Roupen" chapter)–Taleen Poushian (Glendale "Roupen" chapter)–Viken Melkonian (San Fernando Valley "Sardarabad" chapter)–Talar Aslanian (San Fernando Valley "Sardarabad" chapter)–Liza Assadourian (Orange County "Ashot Yergat" chapter)–Siamanto Maronian (Crescenta Valley "Zartonk" chapter) and Tina Yeretsian (Eastern San Fernando Valley "Shahen Meghrian" chapter)–were joined by more than 40 fellow AYF members at the Hollywood Armenian Center–where they were given a send off dinner before they embarked on the strike.
"The AYF is staging this hunger strike as a sign of protest to continued Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide," said AYF Central Executive chairperson Christopher Guldjian.
"Our members are committed to the resolution of the Armenian Cause and our organization will continue the struggle for Hai Tahd," added Guldjian.