Blockades and guardrails contained the protesters, who held signs proclaiming, “Serzh Don't Betray the Armenian People,” “Turkey Accept the Genocide!” and “No to the Protocols!” the Los Angeles-based English-language Armenian newspaper Asbarez reported. The report noted that during the protest, planes flew overhead bearing banners which stated “Stop Turkish-Armenian Protocols,” as large moving vans drove around the hotel with billboards featuring pictures of Armenian President Sarksyan and Turkish President Abdullah Gül with the slogan “Don't Betray us.”
Los Angeles was the third leg of Sarksyan's tour of influential Armenian communities worldwide as he seeks support for his landmark bid to establish ties with Turkey. Earlier, he sought support from the Armenian diaspora in Paris and New York. While in Paris on Friday, Sarksyan faced violent protests, with demonstrators shouting “Traitor!” and criticizing his plans to establish ties with Turkey. At least 200 protesters from the Armenian diaspora in France showed up at a public appearance in Paris. The protest in Los Angeles was organized by the "Stop the Protocols Campaign."
Last month, Turkey and Armenia said they would set aside hostilities and establish diplomatic ties due to practical concerns such as oil interests, Turkey's European Union membership bid and relations with Russia and the United States. Armenians in their poor, isolated homeland are eager to open up trade and other ties with Turkey, more so than many in the vast Armenian diaspora, most of whom are descendants of those who escaped the killings.
There are two protocols which Armenia and Turkey are to sign in the upcoming days -- a protocol on the establishment of diplomatic relations and a protocol on the development of bilateral relations.
Particularly subject to the Armenian diaspora's harsh reaction is the one of the developments in relations between Armenia and Turkey which says that the two countries have agreed to “implement a dialogue on the historical dimension with the aim to restore mutual confidence between the two nations, including an impartial scientific examination of historical records and archives to define existing problems and formulate recommendations.”
Sarksyan is scheduled to travel to Beirut and Rostov-on-Don in Russia as part of his tour in order to hold discussions with the Armenian diaspora ahead of a planned meeting on Oct. 10, when the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers are expected to sign a deal to establish ties. Armenians abroad -- estimated at 5.7 million -- outnumber the 3.2 million living in Armenia itself, the smallest of the ex-Soviet republics. The largest communities are in Russia (2 million), the United States (1.4 million), Georgia (460,000) and France (450,000), according to government data.