SAN DIEGO – Hundreds of members of San Diego’s Armenian community gathered at Waterfront Park Tuesday to call for peace amid an ongoing violent conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan.
Fighting erupted Sept. 27 over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is located in Azerbaijan but remains under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia.
Although the two sides have had conflict for years, the situation escalated in July when the Azeri government threatened to blow up a nuclear power plant in Armenia.
More than 220 people have died and many others have wounded since the fighting began late last month, according to the BBC.
“We’re here today to spread awareness of the injustices that they’ve caused and to finally stop the Azeri and Turkish aggression because we’ve had enough of it,” one woman said. “We’ve suffered for over 100 years. Our families — my parents — are survivors of this massacre that occurred in Azerbaijan thirty years ago and we’re here today to talk about it, to stop it finally.”
Los Angeles and the cities of Glendale and Burbank are home to the nation’s largest population of Armenian immigrants. Last week, Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who is of Armenian decent, introduced a resolution that was immediately passed by the City Council last week condemning the actions of the Azeri government.
“We demand that our government in Washington engage immediately and aggressively to bring an end to this violence, and to hold the Azeri and Turkish governments fully accountable for these crimes,” Krekorian said.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra weighed in on the conflict as well.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to our brothers and sisters in the Armenian community as we work together to address what appear to be a series of violent attacks against them here in California,” Becerra said. “Crimes motivated by hate have a corrosive effect on our society and cannot be tolerated.”