Turkish President’s Bodyguards Accused of Violently Clashing With Protesters in DC

Nine people were injured in the brawl.

Update, 1:17 pm: As outrage grew over the videos, the DC Police Department said it would work with the State Department to “hold all subjects accountable” for their involvement in the violence. The State Department also released a statement condemning the violence.

A demonstration outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, DC, turned violent Tuesday, after protesters holding Kurdish flags clashed with supporters and bodyguards of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was in town for a meeting at the White House.

Nine people were injured and taken to a local hospital during the incident. The New York Times reports that two people were arrested, for aggravated assault and assault on a police officer. Opponents of Erdogan said they were protesting the leader’s authoritarian policies, including crackdowns on dissidents and members of the press.

As the violence broke out, videos from the confrontation quickly emerged on social media appearing to show Erdogan’s security detail using force on protesters, even kicking multiple people in the face, while DC police officials attempted to intervene. NBC confirmed on Wednesday that Erdogan’s bodyguards were the ones beating protesters.

The Turkish embassy did not respond to requests for comment.

Hours earlier, President Donald Trump welcomed Erdogan to the Oval Office for a discussion on ISIS and ongoing efforts to fight terrorism. Both leaders have been accused of encouraging violence and attacking the press.

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