LOS ANGELES (AP) — Huge crowds of Armenian Americans marched in Los Angeles on Wednesday in an annual commemoration of the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians under the Ottoman Empire.
The march was intended to press demands that Turkey — the successor of the Ottoman Empire — recognize the deaths as genocide.
Turkey contends the deaths starting in 1915 were due to civil war and unrest.
The Los Angeles region is home to a large Armenian community, and the march has become a major event which includes a protest outside the Turkish Consulate.
One of the community’s most famous members, Kim Kardashian West, tweeted: “We made a promise we would never forget the Armenian genocide.”
In Sacramento, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation declaring “A day of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.”
“Today and every day, let us recommit ourselves to making certain that we never forget the Armenian Genocide, and that we always speak out against hatred and atrocities anywhere they occur,” it said.
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat whose district encompasses much of the Armenian community, said in a statement that there is no debate that it was genocide and he faulted U.S. presidents from both parties for stopping short of using the term.
“The denial of the genocide is an enduring wound to the Armenian people who descended from survivors to build lives here in the United States, in Armenia, and around the world,” Schiff wrote.