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International

Thousands expected for march commemorating 102nd anniversary of Armenian genocide

11:20, Monday, 24 April, 2017
Thousands expected for march commemorating 102nd anniversary of Armenian genocide

ens of thousands are expected to march and rally outside the Turkish Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard on Monday to commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

The 1.5-mile march — which drew an estimated 60,000 people last year — is scheduled to begin at noon at Pan Pacific Park at 7600 Beverly Blvd. and end outside the Turkish Consulate at 6300 Wilshire Blvd., according to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.Road closures, delays and congestion are expected in the surrounding areas, according to the city.

Among the speakers scheduled are Mayor Eric Garcetti, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), according to the Armenian Genocide Committee, the coalition that organized the march.The march route will proceed south along The Grove Drive, west on 3rd Street, south on Fairfax Avenue near the Park LaBrea apartments and west on Wilshire before stopping outside the consulate, according to LADOT.

Armenians regard the genocide — which began in 1915 and resulted in the deaths of as many as 1.5 million Armenians — as part of an orchestrated effort by the Ottoman Turkish government. Historians have characterized what happened as a precursor of, and even a model for, genocide campaigns that followed, including the Holocaust.

Turkey has long denied that a genocide took place, arguing that the killings can’t be separated from the historical context of global upheaval during World War I, and that many Turks also were killed. But most historians outside Turkey describe a state-organized campaign of ethnic cleansing that meets the definition of genocide.

Southern California is home to the largest Armenian community outside of Armenia. More than 200,000 people of Armenian descent live in Los Angeles County, according to U.S. census data.

Schiff and U.S. Rep. Dave Trott (R-Michigan) last month introduced a resolution asking Congress to formally recognize the genocide.

"Over 100 years ago, the Ottoman Empire undertook a brutal campaign of murder, rape, and displacement against the Armenian people that took the lives of 1.5 million men, women, and children in the first genocide of the 20th century," Schiff said in a statement. "Genocide is not a historic relic — even today hundreds of thousands of religious minorities face existential threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq. It is therefore all the more pressing that the Congress recognize the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide and stand against modern day genocide and crimes against humanity."

Schiff has, for years, sought official recognition of the genocide from Congress.

Last year, Glendale Unified became the first school district in the country to establish a day in remembrance of the genocide. In 2015, Los Angeles officials designated the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue as Armenian Genocide Memorial Square.

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