Ara Manoogian hadn’t eaten for nine days as of Monday, and he was prepared to go without food for weeks, or even months, more.
Camped in an RV parked outside Rep. Adam Schiff’s Burbank office, Manoogian said his hunger strike was in protest of President Obama’s congratulatory remarks toward the re-elected president of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, amid allegations of election fraud and bribery following what Manoogian called a corrupt regime.
“When the president congratulates something, that means you, me and everybody else that’s an American citizen is congratulating this person,” Manoogian said, adding that Sargsyan is using the remarks to legitimize his election. “Our values are being manipulated and misrepresented to other countries.”
Presidential runner-up Raffi Hovanissian also declared a hunger strike March 10 in protest of the official election results.
Manoogian — Burbank resident — lived in Armenia for eight years, but moved back to the United States in 2005 after his work as a human rights activist and investigative reporter left him in fear of his safety.