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Thousands In Los Angeles March Over Ottoman Massacre Of Armenians

Armenia Marks Anniversary Of Massacre
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WATCH: Armenia Marks Anniversary Of Massacre

Thousands of demonstrators marched in Los Angeles on April 24 to commemorate the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians under the Ottoman Empire a century ago.

The marchers demanded that the massacre be officially recognized by Turkey as genocide -- a demand that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declined to fulfill in a statement he issued sending "sincere condolences" to Armenians in Turkey commemorating the deaths on April 24.

Twenty-seven countries and most U.S. states have formally recognized the Armenian massacre as genocide, but Erdogan contended that the deaths were the result of "fierce and harsh conditions" during World War I.

U.S. President Donald Trump issued a statement calling the 1915 killings "one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century" and said he was committed to ensuring that "such atrocities are not repeated."

The Los Angeles demonstrators waved Armenian and American flags and carried signs reading "1915 Never Again" and "Turkish Denial Must End."

More than 200,000 people of Armenian descent live in Los Angeles County, making it home to the largest Armenian community outside of Armenia.

Marie Keshishian, an 18-year-old college student, said all four of her great-great grandparents were killed and that she was marching in their honor.

"I'm out here today to march for justice, to march for recognition," she said.

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, an Armenian-American, tweeted an old photo of herself in Armenia and praised global demonstrations calling for the genocide to be recognized.

"It's so inspiring to see all Armenians united in peaceful protests making a difference," she said. "It's a historic day for Armenia."

The demonstrations came hours after longtime Armenian ruler Serzh Sarkisian resigned in the face of massive street protests.

Based on reporting by AP and The Los Angeles Times