FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — A second night of protesting in northeast Fresno ended peacefully after three men were stabbed during a Defend Armenia demonstration the night before.
It happened in an apparent road rage incident by River Park after the group blocked traffic causing a major backup.
“Nothings going to stop us even last night’s incident. We’re here today to show that we’re stronger than ever,” Samvel Kazaryan said.
Organizers said they used cars to stop traffic because they wanted to get the police department’s attention, so officers would stand with them and keep them safe.
But instead, investigators said 41-year-old Jaime Fonseca got caught in the backup, left his vehicle, and sliced three demonstrators with a knife.
“We just want to make sure that everybody’s safe, the Defend Armenia protestors have the ability to protest safely and peacefully and the commuters get wherever they need to get,” Lt. Israel Reyes with the Fresno Police Department said.
Police met with demonstrators before Thursday’s protest and sent seven officers to monitor the situation, while the more than 100 who gathered agreed to stay out of the streets.
“We shouldn’t be causing traffic, we don’t want the community to go against us, we want them to be on our side and from now on we will continue protesting, but no more causing traffic. And they agreed to do whatever they can to for the most part be with us,” Kristina Melikyan said.
The group said even the previous night’s unexpected violence won’t distract them from the real issue at hand.
“There is still a war going on, and basically a second genocide going to happen if we don’t stop this,” Melikyan said.
Demonstrators said they’ll continue to protest once or twice a week and police reiterated they haven’t had any problems with this group and they believe what happened Wednesday was an isolated incident.