GLENDALE, Calif.—The Southern California Armenian community came together Sunday evening, Sept. 27, to express its unified and unequivocal opposition to the Turkey-Armenia protocols. With more than 10,000 people, they sent a message to Yerevan that conceding to Turkish pressure is unacceptable.
They came in droves, on foot, with buses, by car to join in the protest rally organized by the Social-Democratic Hunchakian Party, Armenian Democratic Liberal Organization-Ramkavar Party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), and the Unified Armenian Youth (UAY).
Chanting “No concessions to Turkey” and “No to Protocols,” the crowd overwhelmingly cheered calls to put an end to the process, which sets unacceptable preconditions on Armenia and, if enacted, would endanger Armenia’s national security and halt the aspirations of future generations of Armenians.
The mood of the crowd was decisive. As the deficiencies and dangers of the protocols were articulated by the slate of speakers, the crowd’s calls on the government to take appropriate action grew louder and more resolute.
Opening remarks were made by Melina Mayilyan in Armenian and Caspar Jivelegian in English, after which representatives of each political party and organization made their statements to the crowd.
Aroutin Haroutunyan spoke on behalf of the UAY; Harutiun Der-Tavidian presented remarks on behalf of the Hunchakian Party; Minas Geunjian presented the Ramkavar Party’s message; and Avedik Izmirlian presented the message on behalf of the ARF.
The keynote speaker, Harut Sassounian, outlined the protocols’ dangerous points and urged the Armenian government to be more prudent in their efforts to normalize relations.
Also speaking were Glendale City councilman Ara Najarian and Hovik Zirakyan.
In closing Hovan Tashjian, rallied the crowd to express its opposition to the protocols and read out loud a resolution on behalf of the participants of the protest rally. The crowd’s loud roar indicated its approval of the resolution, which among other provisions called for an immediate end to the rapprochement process under the current stipulations.
Another resolution called on Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the House Committee of Foreign Relations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Reps. Adam Schiff and George Radanovich to immediately schedule a vote on H.Res.252, the Armenian Genocide Resolution pending on Congress.
“We, the over 10,000 Americans of Armenian descent, gathered at this political rally on Sept. 27, 2009, at Pelanconi Park, in Glendale, California, make this call for immediate action by the U.S. Congress on the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution,” read the resolution.
“We call upon our friend, Congressman Howard Berman, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to immediately set a date, in the coming weeks, for a vote of his panel on the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.252.
“We encourage all the members of the powerful California Congressional delegation, most notably Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chairman Berman, and the lead authors of this legislation, Adam Schiff and George Radanovich, to ensure that this genocide-prevention measure is adopted by the full U.S. House of Representatives,” concluded the resolution, which was unanimously adopted by the protest participants.
At the conclusion of the rally, singers Armen Movsesian and Razmik Mansourian performed patriotic songs to further highlight the crowd’s resolute stance on the matter. At the beginning of the program, Narine Ojakhyan performed the U.S. and Armenian national anthems.