BY TALAR CHAHINIAN
LOS ANGELES–As the Armenian community of Los Angeles slept soundly on Monday night–the sun had already risen on the countries of the Eastern hemisphere–bringing with it the very long day of April 24th to Armenia’s all around. Thousands of Armenia’s took time out of their everyday life to commemorate the loss of the victims of the 1915 Genocide and to unleash their voice against governmen’s who still deny them their history and identity. Like a burning torch their voices were carried from one Armenian community to another until they reached our shores.
Beginning at 3 p.m. on Tuesday–the voices of a demanding Armenian public were heard loudly in front of the Turkish embassy of Los Angeles–located on the busy Wilshire Boulevard. Close to 2,500 Armenia’s of all ages–held up banners of protest up high and marched in a large circle on the entrance side of the embassy. The protesters chanted slogans–demanding that Turkey recognize the commitment of its crime against the Armenia’s. The protesters also held up their signs to the passing rush hour traffic of Wilshire–in hopes of enlightening the greater Los Angeles public about a crime against humanity that has been pushed under the table for the greater part of the twentieth century.
The demonstration–which is an honored tradition of its organizers–the Armenian Youth Federation–takes on a life of its own each year. This year’s crowd seemed to overflow from the sidewalks and even decided to cross the street and make a rotation around the block. The crowd’s crossing of the street forced the police officers on hand to stop the flow of traffic on Wilshire–giving the protesters a chance to walk pass in front of the cars more closely and allow the drivers to read the banners.
At the end of the demonstration–the crowd gathered at the edge of one of the side streets of the embassy building to let out their cries of justice one last time before they returned home. 86 years of an oppressed truth came screeching out with the chants of the crowd as they continuously repeated "We want justice". AYF CE Chairman Miko Melkonian–who was being carried on the shoulders of his friends–took the loud speaker in hand and thanked the crowd for coming and joining the AYF in protesting against inhumanity. He also re-assured the people that AYF would continue the struggle for justice until that justice is served to the Armenia’s.
Glendale Unified School Board member Greg Krikorian also spoke to the crowd urging them to continue working for the Armenian Cause and pledging that he will partake in the struggle for justice for as long as it is demanded. The angry and demanding voices of the afternoon turned into harmony at the end of the protest–as community members sent the sun of April 24th away with the singing of the Armenian national anthem–"Mer Hayrenik"