Oct 12, 2020 - World

Armenian Americans rally in U.S. as Nagorno-Karabakh truce frays

Members of the Armenian American community protested in several U.S. cities over the weekend — with thousands attending the biggest rally in Los Angeles — as tensions mount between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Driving the news: Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed to a Russian-brokered ceasefire last Friday, but Al Jazeera reports that the truce has become "increasingly frayed," with both sides accusing the other of "serious violations and crimes against civilians."

In Los Angeles, thousands of protesters gathered outside the consulate of Turkey, which is backing Azerbaijan, per AP.

  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted his support for the Armenian American community.
  • He linked out to a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, signed by several U.S. mayors, asking him to "lead the effort to bring Armenia and Azerbaijan back to the negotiating table, and persuade Turkey to disengage."

In Boston, hundreds of members of the Armenian American community and their supporters briefly shut down traffic downtown on Sunday before marching to the Armenian Heritage Park, CBS Boston notes.

In New York, several dozen Armenian Americans held a protest in Buffalo on Saturday, WGRZ reports.

The big picture: The mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh is populated mainly by ethnic Armenians. However, it lies within the borders of Azerbaijan.

  • The territory has been in dispute since the Soviet Union's collapse, and a war was fought over it 1991–1994. The recent violence has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people.
  • In a joint statement last week, Pompeo and European officials condemned what they called an "unprecedented and dangerous escalation of violence in and outside of the Nagorno-Karabakh zone."
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