Politics

Vigil at LA City Hall following attack on Armenians in Azerbaijan

Paul Krekorian at a Los Angeles City Council meeting on Aug. 6, 2013.
Paul Krekorian at a Los Angeles City Council meeting on Aug. 6, 2013.
Mae Ryan/KPCC

Elected officials and Armenian-American community leaders were set to hold a candlelight vigil Tuesday night on the south steps of the Los Angeles City Hall. The event is in response to military action in the Azerbaijan's Artsakh region by government troops that left Armenian civilians and soldiers dead.

L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian told KPCC that the vigil was meant to call for peace and to denounce what he described as the "outrageous militarization and vicious attacks" by Azerbaijan against those living in the Artsakh region.

"They have routinely violated the ceasefire since 1994, but this last week has seen a dramatic escalation of that," Krekorian said. "It's outrageous, it's unjustifiable, and it should be denounced by the entire international community."

Krekorian said that peace in the region is in the interests of the United States and that these attacks may constitute war crimes.

"So that's why we are putting together this vigil, and that's why we're going to continue to demand action from our own government in Washington to ensure that we bring peace back to this region," Krekorian said.

Azerbaijan's attack came shortly after meetings Azerbaijan's president had with Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden.

"This is so utterly disrespectful of American interests and the desires of the American people that I think that the American government needs to respond sternly and hold the aggressors accountable," Krekorian said.

Krekorian said that he'd been told that an elderly couple who was murdered and whose bodies were defiled by Azerbaijan's forces have family in Southern California, but that they had yet to identify that family.

The U.S. condemned Azerbaijan's actions, and Kerry issued a statement saying that it was a ceasefire violation which resulted in casualties, including civilians.

"We extend our condolences to all affected families. We urge the sides to show restraint, avoid further escalation, and strictly adhere to the ceasefire," Kerry said in the statement. "We reiterate that there is no military solution to the conflict. ... The United States is firmly committed to working with the sides to reach a lasting and negotiated peace."

The U.S. also condemned the attacks as part of a group overseeing the situation in Azerbaijan, along with Russia and France.