Hollywood star and rights advocate George Clooney today (April 24, 2016) led thousands of Armenians on a march to a hilltop memorial in Yerevan -- the capital of Armenia -- to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the World War I-era Armenian genocide by Ottoman Turks, according to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website.
A staunch advocate of the massacre's recognition as genocide, Clooney arrived in the ex-Soviet nation yesterday to take part in the hugely symbolic ceremonies. (Turkey denies that the Armenian genocide ever occurred.)
Clooney and the French singer of Armenian origin Charles Aznavour joined President Serzh Sarkisian and thousands of Armenians to lay flowers at the eternal flame at the imposing Tsitsernakaberd memorial as requiem services for the victims were held in churches across the country.
Some 1.5 million Armenians were killed during World War I as the Ottoman Empire was falling apart. Turkey rejects the genocide label, claiming that the Armenians died in civil strife when they rose up against their Ottoman rulers and sided with invading Russian troops during World War I.