A candlelight vigil commemorating the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide was held on the steps of Burbank City Hall on Tuesday night, two days before an L.A. visit by President Obama, who has not kept a campaign promise to formally recognize the mass killings in 1915 as genocide.
Several in the crowd of about 200 held signs with phrases such as "1915 Never Again," "End the Cycle of Genocide" and "Stand True to Your Word."
"Mr. President, you did not keep your promise," said Hilton Sorkazian, a member of the Armenian Youth Federation and a speaker at the vigil. "Keep your promise."
He then encouraged Armenians to attend a rally planned for 3 p.m. Thursday in Culver City, where Obama will reportedly attend a fundraiser. Obama's sidestepping of the genocide issue is missing a larger issue, said Nanneh Chehras, a volunteer with the Armenian National Committee.
"It's a human rights issue. It's not limited to Armenians," she said. "It's the first genocide of the 20th century; 1.5 million people were massacred and it's not recognized. It's crazy. It doesn't make sense."