In Anchorage, Armenians of Alaska rally to raise awareness about conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh

a small group of people at a rally holding signs
Yeva Sharp (left) with family and friends at an October 17 rally in Anchorage opposing the Azerbaijani violence against Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, a de facto independent state between Azerbaijan and Armenia. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Around 75 people gathered in Midtown Anchorage Saturday, to speak out about violence against Armenians as tensions escalate in a longstanding conflict with Azerbaijan.

Fighting is ongoing in a conflict over the territory of Nagorno Karabakh.

Rita Osipyan of Wasilla was among those speaking out in Anchorage.

“We’re here to have a peaceful protest against the silence that’s been going on in this country and worldwide because of non-recognition of this Armenian territory we call Artsakh,” said Osipyan.

a group of people marching and holding signs and flags
Roughly 75 people marched at an October 17 rally in Anchorage opposing the Azerbaijani violence against Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, a de facto independent state between Azerbaijan and Armenia. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

The rally was organized by Armenians of Alaska. The organization wants to see the United States cut all military aid to Azerbaijan and Turkey, which is backing Azerbaijan. They also want to see the U.S. place political and economic sanctions on the two countries.

Yeva Sharp lived in Armenia until a few years ago, and says she’s worried about her friends and family back home.

“I left Armenia five years ago, we came to U.S. and I want to make sure my family, my bother’s family, my friends and other family members, they live and they sleep peacefully,” said Sharp.

Conflict in the region goes back decades, but recent clashes began at the end of September.

Jeff Chen contributed to this story.