Clark Chronicle

Armenian students participate in a silent protest

Armenian+students+participate+in+a+silent+protest.
Armenian students participate in a silent protest.

Armenian students participate in a silent protest.

Henry Reed

Henry Reed

Armenian students participate in a silent protest.

Henry Reed, Photo Editor

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Nearly 75 Armenian students stood in the amphitheater on Tuesday with the familiar tricolor flags in their hands. The students stood in silence, which was occasionally broken by questioning bystanders. The peaceful protest was held in hopes of raising awareness of the recent increase in armed combat between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Despite multiple ceasefires, numerous conflicts have occurred since the fall of the Soviet Union, with last Saturday being particularly violent. Al Jazeera English reported that “at least 30 troops were killed on both sides” using artillery and rocket fire.

“I felt that not many Americans and not many people here in Glendale knew what was going on, so I decided to wear a shirt and a flag and asked my friends to [do the same],” said junior Varuzhan Hakobyan. “Just in my first period four people asked me why I was wearing it and why I was planning to protest. I did it because I wanted more people to know about the situation to support our troops.”

While the protest was meant to be peaceful, it did catch the attention of the school administration. The Clark Magnet dress standard specifically states that collarless shirts or shirts with prints are prohibited. According to Principal Doug Dall, the protesters should have been following the dress standard.

Some students disagreed with the administration’s standpoint. “In my opinion, it was okay for that day for students to be out of the dress standard because it was done for a very good cause,” said junior Diana Khosrovyan.

Programming and mathematics teacher Fred Blattner revoked his decision to discipline a student upon finding out the reasoning behind the student’s decision. “I thought that they were just breaking the rules, but once I realized it wasn’t just him trying to get out of the dress standard, I emailed Ms. Juarez to let her know not to punish him,” Blattner said.

The dress code was not the only controversy surrounding the protest. “I think it’s a good thing that the Armenian diaspora wants to get involved in the issue. I also think it’s a terrible that the people trying to get involved have no idea about anything they’re talking about,” said junior Ara Sarkisyan. “I saw a tweet the other day where someone said ‘It’s the genocide happening all over again.’ No, it’s a war that’s been going on for 27 years happening all over again. It’s somewhat shocking that people don’t realize that our country has been at war 27 years now.”

Sarkisyan also commented on the implementation of the protest. “There’s a certain way to go around getting recognition and this isn’t one of the ways. If you only promote this within the members of the community it’s only going to stay within the members of the community,” Sarkisyan said.

On a larger scale, an estimated 500 Armenian Americans protested in downtown Glendale on Monday, as reported by the Glendale News-Press. In addition, there is an upcoming protest scheduled for Friday on Wilshire Blvd., in Los Angeles.

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Armenian students participate in a silent protest