The ongoing conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has triggered an outpouring of support from Los Angeles's Armenian community, one of the largest in the world.
On October 10, U.S. reality television star Kim Kardashian, who is of Armenian descent, announced she had donated $1 million to the Armenia Fund, which seeks to provide humanitarian relief efforts such as food, shelter, and medical care for those affected by the conflict.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the brave men, women and children. I want everyone to remember that despite the distance that separates us, we are not limited by borders and we are one global Armenian nation together," Kardashian said in a video message to her followers on Instagram.
The reality TV star and business mogul, whose father was a third-generation Armenian-American, has often spoken out about issues affecting Armenia and its people.
Her famous sisters, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian, also took to Instagram to call for joining the pan-Armenian fund-raiser.
The next day, thousands of people protested in Los Angeles in support of Armenians, waving Armenian flags, chanting, and carrying signs.
Meanwhile, the city's Armenian community has been rallying around calls to support Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, with multiple restaurants offering donation deals and charity initiatives aimed at raising funds.
Southern California is home to the largest Armenian population in the United States; an East Hollywood neighborhood was designated Little Armenia in 2000.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted in support of the protesters, attaching a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from a group of mayors and congressional lawmakers urging the United States to help deescalate tensions in the conflict.
"As proud representatives of Armenian-American communities across our country, we share their deep concerns about the violence being inflicted upon Artsakh, the growing number of civilian casualties, and the involvement of regional actors like Turkey and Iran," the letter reads.
Armenians refer to Nagorno-Karabakh as Artsakh.
"We ask that you lead the effort to bring Armenia and Azerbaijan back to the negotiating table, and persuade Turkey to disengage," the letter states.
There was no mention of Azerbaijani casualties.
Azerbaijan's consul-general to the western United States, Nasimi Aghayev, condemned the Los Angeles mayor for ignoring the deaths of civilians in rocket attacks by Armenian forces on Azerbaijani cities.
"Is there no limit to political expediency? No red lines? Should the #politics always be about campaign money & votes?" he wrote, adding a video showing the damage and casualties caused by Armenian attacks on Ganca, Azerbaijan's second-largest city.
@MayorOfLA, how can you stand with the #murderers of innocent #Azerbaijani #civilians, killed ruthlessly by #Armenia in their sleep? Is there no limit to political expediency? No red lines? Should the #politics always be about campaign money & votes? pic.twitter.com/v86ugzTTvK
— Nasimi Aghayev 🇦🇿 (@NasimiAghayev) October 12, 2020
@MayorOfLA, this line from your letter is very disturbing. #Armenia-#Azerbaijan conflict has nothing to do with #religion. Any attempt to bring religion into it plays into hands of #Islamophobes & must be condemned. Suggest this reading for elucidation: https://t.co/Mf1YZuT9UI pic.twitter.com/5VCyDMUYDB— Nasimi Aghayev 🇦🇿 (@NasimiAghayev) October 12, 2020
The protest came as fragile cease-fire between Armenia and Azerbaijan has come under strain as both sides have accused the other of violations, including rocket attacks and shelling of cities.
Hundreds of soldiers and an unknown number of civilians have been killed on both sides since fighting erupted on September 27, in the biggest escalation in the conflict since the shaky 1994 cease-fire.
At one point, a crowd of at least 20,000 people gathered in front of the Turkish Consulate in Beverly Hills to condemn Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan.
The demonstration appeared to be largely peaceful.