Fresno Remembers the Armenian Genocide

FRESNO, Calif. California has the largest Armenian-American population second only to the republic of Armenia. Saturday hundreds of people commemorated the Armenian genocide in Downtown Fresno. Many say they are frustrated with President Obama because he has not acknowledged the massacre that took place.

On the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, hundreds of people marched, delivered speeches and sang songs in Downtown Fresno as a tribute to both victims and survivors.

"I'm here with my son today, Gregory. He's 4 years old. He needs to know the injustice that's been done."

"95 years of genocide, that's going to end a hundred years...fight!"

Historians say between 1915 and 1923, more than 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Turkey's government says the deaths were the result of a civil war.

Since then, relations between the two countries have been strained. And President Obama, who acknowledges the deaths, will not use the term genocide.

In a statement released Saturday, the President said in part, quote: "Today is a day to reflect upon and draw lessons from these terrible events. I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed."

Valley congressman Jim Costa remains hopeful those views will soon shift. "It would be I think very important to acknowledge this horrific genocide that took place in the first in the 20th century and in fact it's time for turkey to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia."

The Armenian community here in the valley and around the world vows they will always fight for injustices their ancestors have faced, with or without the recognition.

"It shows that we are still together and no matter what has happened, we will still gather together and remember and continue to ask for recognition for such an important issue."

Saturday's ceremony continues tonight at the Saint Paul Armenian Church in Fresno.

Central Valley Armenian Churches is hosting the event which will have speakers including one of the first Turkish academics to acknowledge the Armenian genocide.

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