Thousands of protesters gathered in front of the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles on April 24 to demand justice for the Armenian Genocide as part of the 24 Hours of Action organized by the Armenian Youth Federation.
The day-long demonstration began at 2 p.m. with protesters disseminating information about the Armenian Genocide to the public. At 4 p.m., those in attendance took part in the protest rally, expressing their demands for justice and recognition of the genocide by the Turkish and United States governments.
Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian was among the protesters. In his speech, he compared the Armenian demands for reparation to those of Americans for the occurrences of September 11, 2001. Montebello City Councilman Jack Hadjinian also addressed the crowd and commended the Armenian youth on their efforts on social media to spread awareness about the Armenian Genocide.
Serob Abrahamian presented the AYF’s message in Armenian, calling on President Barack Obama to keep his presidential campaign promise of recognizing the genocide. Sanan Shirinian presented the AYF’s message in English, saying that the youth will not stop fighting until justice is served. “Don’t tell us we’re being too idealistic, because we’re not meant to be level-headed. We are meant to be revolutionaries,” she said. “Why? Because we belong to the Armenian Nation.”
Following the protest, the 24 Hours of Action continued with musical performances and live art by renowned community singers and artists. Participants then gathered in a circle and sang revolutionary and patriotic songs for the remainder of the evening.
Beginning at midnight, Gregory Stanton’s eight stages of genocide were presented each hour. During the final stage of Denial, protesters sat in solidarity against the Turkish Consulate building with their mouths taped shut. The word “Denial” appeared across their mouths.
At 10 a.m., the protesters marched to The Grove and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to pass out informational pamphlets about the genocide. They reconvened in front of the consulate at noon and were joined by hundreds of students from Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School.
A second protest rally took place until 2 p.m. on April 25. In his message to the youth, AYF member Joseph Kaskanian said, “As I look into this crowd and see the faces of our youth, I know for a fact our generation will be strong. We will fight for our free, independent, united Armenia.”
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization in the United States, working to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness of Armenian-American youth.