Thousands to Rally at Turkish Consulate in LA on April 24

As Obama seeks to stop genocide in Darfur, calls intensify for affirmation of Turkey’s genocide of Armenians

LOS ANGELES—The United States has the best chance in a generation to help end the cycle of genocide and recommit the world to the noble and necessary cause of a future without genocide. Inspired by this fierce urgency of now, thousands across the state of California will rally at the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles (on 6300 Wilshire Boulevard) on Fri., April 24 at 4 p.m. to call for an end to over a century of race murder, fueled by Turkey’s ongoing denial of its genocide against the Armenian people.

Last year, nearly 15,000 activists converged on the Turkish Consulate amid intensified activity by the Turkish government to prevent the U.S. House of Representatives from recognizing the genocide. “We as Armenian Americans know that our nation should properly recognize and condemn the Armenian Genocide, and all subsequent genocides,” said AYFer Vache Thomassian. “Now, more than ever, we have to rise above political expediency and take a moral stance against genocide—and I firmly believe Barack Obama has the integrity to be the leader that does so.”

This year’s demonstration converges with global expectations pertaining to Obama’s numerous campaign pledges to reaffirm the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide. Earlier this month, Obama traveled to Turkey and stated, “My views are on the record and I have not changed views,” when asked in a press conference about his promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The president also referenced the genocide in his speech to the Turkish Parliament, when he said that “[h]istory, unresolved, can be a heavy weight. Each country must work through its past. And reckoning with the past can help us seize a better future.”

As a Senator and as a presidential candidate, Obama was a strong advocate for proper Armenian Genocide recognition and swift action to stop the Darfur Genocide. During his 2008 campaign for the White House, Obama repeatedly pledged to “respond forcefully to all genocides,” including the one currently raging in Darfur.

“Genocide, sadly, persists to this day, and threatens our common security and common humanity. Tragically, we are witnessing in Sudan many of the same brutal tactics—displacement, starvation, and mass slaughter—that were used by the Ottoman authorities against defenseless Armenians back in 1915,” Obama said in the statement. “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that president.”

Previous presidents have wavered in their commitments to accurately recognize the genocide in their annual statements on April 24. This year, activists across the U.S. are expecting the president to break that trend and bring a long overdue change to U.S. policy on genocide. Two weeks ahead of the annual commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, Obama commemorated the 15th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda by urging the United States and its world partners to deepen their commitment to ending the cycle of genocide begun in 1915.

Activists will draw attention to Turkey’s expanding multi-million dollar campaign to erase all memory and culpability of its crime against the Armenian people and how it has spawned a string of genocides, from the Nazi Holocaust to the worsening humanitarian situation in Darfur. Organized by the AYF, this year’s protest comes a month after U.S. legislators introduced a resolution calling on Obama to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide. The resolution has faced fierce opposition by Turkey, which is threatening to derail negotiations to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia if the genocide is recognized. The Obama Administration has stated that it is seeking a normalization of those strained relations based on an honest look into the past.

The demonstration will also take place against the backdrop of a series of anti-genocide events organized throughout the U.S. and around the world during Genocide Prevention Month.

In Washington, D.C., human rights activists will be participating in three full days of Congressional visits to demand U.S. action against the genocide in Darfur and support for the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. The annual grassroots advocacy campaign, from April 22-24, is being organized by the ANCA and the Genocide Intervention Network. Earlier this month, the ANCA launched a nationwide effort to urge concrete action by the U.S. government in fully recognizing the Armenian Genocide end finally ending the genocide in Darfur.

Echoing Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous remarks at the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963, the ANCA’s “Fierce Urgency of NOW” campaign has been mobilizing anti-genocide activists across the country to visit to learn how the atrocities in Darfur fit into the cycle of genocide that started with the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23. The website provides simple ways for citizens to call on Obama to show “unstinting resolve” in the effort to stop the Darfur Genocide and end U.S. complicity in Turkey’s international campaign of genocide denial.

In 1915, the Ottoman Turkish government set out to annihilate the indigenous Armenian population inhabiting the lands under its dominion. Between 1915-23, the government executed a systematic campaign to exterminate the Armenian people and remove them from their historic homeland. The Armenian Genocide, recognized as the first genocide of the 20th century by historians the world over, resulted in the death of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians and the loss of millions of dollars in property and land now under occupation by the Republic of Turkey.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. I live inBoston but my heart and thoughts will be with all of you today in L.A. Good luck and be safe.

  2. Look, I know there was a genocide, but I really hope Obama doesn’t use the word genocide. I am working at the US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, and if Obama uses that word, lord knows the amount of anti american protests that will be going on in this city. I don’t know how safe it will be for me to be here, and since I am not an ambassador or diplomat, it’s not like I can just leave the country on short notice. If he does use the word, I hope the protests aren’t violent or they start targeting americans. Because I’ll be damned if I get hurt because of what Obama says.

  3. Gee Justin, worried about an innocent person being harmed by turks for no good reason? Imagine how Armenians mothers felt witnessing the brutal deaths of their innocent babes before being dispatched themselves. I assume you are safe. Oh well.

  4. Nobody wants to see people getting hurt or anti American protests in Ankara. But the truth will come out, and sometimes it hurts. If I were accepting a position in an embassy, I would have calculated that some political risk is an inherent part of the job description.

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