VIDEO: Street brawl breaks out in DC outside Turkey ambassador's residence

Agence France-Presse
Updated on
Opponents and supporters of the Turkish government beat each other up outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador to Washington, DC.

Opponents and supporters of the Turkish government beat each other up outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador to Washington, DC.

The United States on Wednesday expressed concern to Turkey in the "strongest possible terms" after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's bodyguards clashed with protesters in Washington.

"Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

(Warning: This video gets a little bloody.)

Erdogan was in the US capital on Tuesday for apparently successful talks with President Donald Trump but his visit was marred by violence between his security detail and pro-Kurdish protesters.

Witnesses told AFP that Turkish bodyguards pushed past a Washington police cordon outside the Turkish ambassador's residence and set about the protesters with their fists and feet.

A police spokesman described the assault as a "brutal attack on a peaceful protest" and said investigators were studying video evidence and would seek to identify and question the suspects.

Two suspects — not from Erdogan's detail — were arrested at the scene and 11 people were hurt, nine of them badly enough to receive hospital treatment.

A group of Kurdish protesters shout slogans against the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington, DC's Lafayette Park on May 16.

A group of Kurdish protesters shout slogans against the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington, DC's Lafayette Park on May 16.

Credit:

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

"We are concerned by the violent incidents involving protesters and Turkish security personnel Tuesday evening," Nauert said.

"We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms."

Related: Trump meets Turkey's Erdogan as the US vows to arm his enemies

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