LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Fistfights broke out today, and one officer was injured, during a large demonstration staged by an Armenian group near the Azerbaijan Consulate General in Brentwood.
The demonstration started about 2 p.m. in the 11700 block of Wilshire Boulevard and turned unruly after participants spilled into surrounding streets.
Officers set up a scrimmage line to keep demonstrators out of the streets, said Los Angeles Police Department Officer Mike Lopez, who said one officer suffered a laceration and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Lopez said one person was arrested on suspicion of assault on a police officer.
Demonstration organizer Alex Galitsky of the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region told City News Service he was not aware of any injuries, but “we've seen small scuffles breaking out.''
Galinski estimated the crowd at 3,000, noting Los Angeles has the largest Armenian community in the world outside of Armenia.
ANCAWR was protesting alleged “unprovoked Azerbaijani belligerence'' toward Armenia in their shared border region around Armenia's northern province of Tavush, which began July 12.
“The Armenian people are fighting for their right to self-determination,'' Galinsky said. He called the border fighting “a blatant act of aggression and an act of war'' while the world was preoccupied with COVID-19.
On July 16, the Azerbaijan Minister of Foreign Affairs countered: “The only cause of tension in the region is Armenia, which holds Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions of Azerbaijan under military occupation, violates the fundamental rights and freedoms of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis and directly impedes the settlement of the conflict through negotiations.''
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