Armenians Remember Genocide

by Arin Gencer, Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles Times
April 25, 2006 Tuesday
Home Edition

About 2,500 join in annual protest held outside the Turkish Consulate
in L.A.

Waving Armenia’s flag of red, blue and orange, about 2,500 Armenian
Americans on Monday staged an annual protest of what they say was a
Turk-sanctioned genocide of their ancestors.

The rally, held in front of the Turkish Consulate in the 6300 block
of Wilshire Boulevard, was one of many events worldwide commemorating
April 24, 1915, the day Armenians say the mass deportations, arrests
and executions began.

Of the estimated 2 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire at the
time, Armenian Americans say, more than 1 million died between 1915
and 1923. The empire became the modern republic of Turkey.

In West Hollywood, city flags flew at half-staff. Last week, Gov.

Arnold Schwarzenegger declared April 23-29 “Days of Remembrance of
the Armenian Genocide.”

“We want all the world to know that this happened,” said Christine
Hovananian, 50, of Glendale.

“Turkey should say that ‘we have done this to Armenian people.’ ”

For her, that means acknowledging the 1915 murders of her aunts,
uncles and grandparents in the village of Van in eastern Turkey.

Hovananian’s father and mother escaped separately to Iraq, where they
eventually met and married.

For the three decades she has lived in Southern California, Hovananian
has protested every year in front of the consulate in her relatives’

“Their blood is asking us … get that ‘genocide’ name,” Hovananian

The Turkish government does not recognize what occurred as genocide,
attributing the deaths to fighting between Turks and Armenians.

“Armenian allegations of genocide have never been historically or
legally substantiated,” Turkish Ambassador Nabi Sensoy said in a
statement in response to a PBS documentary aired last week. “Unlike
the Holocaust, the numbers, dates, facts and the context associated
with this period are all contested.”

More than 150,000 people of Armenian descent live in Los Angeles
County, according to the 2000 census.

The Armenian National Committee of America says there are as many as
60,000 in Los Angeles alone.

GRAPHIC: PHOTO: OUTCRY: Protesters outside the consulate call on
Turkey to acknowledge the deaths of more than a million Armenians
between 1915 and 1923 as genocide. The Turkish government denies the
accusations. PHOTOGRAPHER: Stephen Osman Los Angeles Times.

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