More than 50,000 rally in Los Angeles to commemorate Armenian genocide

- Vigils, marches and demonstrations commemorating the 1.5 million Armenians killed by Ottoman Turks more than a century ago continued Sunday in the Southland.

The Armenian Genocide Commemoration March, sponsored by Unified Young Armenians, began about 10 a.m. at the intersection of Hobart and Hollywood boulevards in Little Armenia.



The protesters marched to a "Rally for Justice'' outside the Turkish Consulate at 6300 Wilshire Blvd., where about 5,000 people had gathered by early afternoon, along with about two dozen pro-Turkey counter-protesters, according to KNX 1070.

Some fruit, cucumbers and vegetables were thrown, but police kept the parties separated as aircraft flew overhead towing banners bearing the Turkish flag and slogans such as "Get Real,'' and "Stop Armenian Lies,'' the station reported.

Five rally-related arrests were reported, but it was unclear for what alleged offenses, according to Officer Norma Eisenman of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations Section. No injuries were reported and the protest was largely peaceful, she said.

On Saturday, a vigil was held outside Glendale City Hall and the United Armenian Council of Los Angeles held a special observance at the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument in Montebello.

Last Sunday, the 10th annual Walk to End Genocide was held in Mid-City to raise funds for anti-genocide educational and advocacy efforts in the U.S. and to support projects aiding survivors of the conflicts in Sudan and Congo.   

Historians say the systemic slaughter of Armenians began on April 24, 1915 when Turkey's Ottoman government rounded up and arrested 250 intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople.

What some consider the first genocide of the 20th Century continued until 1923. But officials in modern Turkey deny there was ever a genocide. And the United States government has been reluctant to use the word genocide to describe the mass killings.

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