The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the incidents of clutching Turkish flags on the gates of two Armenian private schools, Los Angeles Times reports.
School officials and police said the masked figure in black zip-tied more than a dozen flags on the schools’ gates and fled.
The incidents caused concern and outrage among L.A.’s Armenians. Many described the incidents as an act of hate intended to intimidate the community and discredit the Armenian Genocide.
The LA Police investigate the surveillance footage and plan to boost patrols near the schools.
Arpi Avanesian, principal of AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in Canoga Park, said they were shocked and surprised to see the Turkish flags on the school’s gate. “It came as a complete shock and surprise in the sense we weren’t expecting it. I don’t know what this person was thinking about. Why today? What set them off to do this?”, she said.
Nora Hovsepian, chair of the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region, informed that Turkish flags were also found hanging at Holy Martyrs Ferrahian High School, an Armenian school in Encino founded nearly 60 years ago by members of a generation of Armenian genocide survivors.
LA Police Department’s spokesman Jeffrey Lee said the incident in Encino was logged as a hate crime.
During a press conference on January 29 a group of officials urged the authorities to find and prosecute the suspect.
In both schools the flags were taken down before the students arrived.
“We want to all get along,” Arpi Avanesian said. “We want people to understand the crimes of the past and we can all have a bright and happy future. Our hope is one day Turkey will understand what their government did over 100 years ago”.
Congressman Brad Sherman condemned the incident and urged the Police to make arresting the vandals a high priority.
By the end of the school day, Ferrahian students had responded: Armenian flags waved all over campus, hanging from stair railings and gates.
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunian