'Stand with Armenia': Protestors in Fresno call for action from world leaders amid conflict

Before the demonstration, many prayed at St. Paul Armenian Church in Fresno for the more than 200 lives that church leaders said have already been lost.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia has left dozens reportedly killed and hundreds more wounded.

In response, demonstrations from Armenian communities are taking place around the state, including in Fresno, demanding national and world leaders intervene to stop the deadly conflict.

Hundreds of demonstrators held up signs while many others waved flags near River Park in northeast Fresno Tuesday evening.

The flag of the Republic of Armenia was raised outside Fresno City Hall in a ceremony of support on Wednesday.

A moment of silence was also held for those who have lost their lives.

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Before the demonstration, many prayed at St. Paul Armenian Church for the lives that have been lost.



Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said, "We understand we must speak out against violence and show our support for the Armenian people across the ocean and right here at home. Fresno says to the world that peace is our prayer."

The fighting is over the long-disputed region of Nagorno Karabakh, which is controlled by mostly Armenians but is inside Azerbaijan territory.


The Armenian community is now demanding the United States step in after Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO, intervened and is helping Azerbaijan.

"They're seeing what's happening in Karabakh as a second genocide and really the part that's worst is that the Republic of Turkey has been involved by sending Azerbaijani military equipment and advisors." said Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Armenian Studies coordinator at Fresno State. "We think it's important for our president to put a stop to this fighting. Innocent civilians are being killed."

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According to the Consulate General of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles' website, the assistant for the president of the country blamed Armenia for the conflict stating "those in Armenia's political leadership and the leadership of the puppet regime are responsible in this situation."

Fresno City Councilmember Mike Karbassi said, "The escalating conflict we're seeing today, which has pitted the people of Armenia against some very very evil actors in the region, is just part of the collateral damage of that Soviet evil empire."

Both civilians and soldiers have died on both sides of the fight.

Before the demonstration, many prayed at St. Paul Armenian Church in Fresno for the more than 200 lives that church leaders said have already been lost.

"We need that peace, and we don't need the fight and disagreements. We're going to be here praying for that peace," Pastor Yessai Bedros said.

On Monday, the Fresno City Council will also consider a resolution that calls for Fresno to stand alongside the Armenian community while calling on national leaders to intervene in the war between the two countries.

As the civilian death toll mounts, some were worried the conflict could lead to a much bigger, regional clash.
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