‘Erdogan guards’ brutally attack demonstrators at Turkish ambassador’s DC residence (VIDEOS)
Footage from the scene shows men in suits viciously attacking a group of anti-Erdogan protesters, pushing them to the ground – men and women alike – and kicking some of them repeatedly in the head. The men in suits, according to media citing eyewitnesses, are members of the Turkish president’s security detail.
The protest, which took place during the evening rush hour, hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Donald Trump at the White House, shut down Sheridan Circle and the area surrounding the Turkish ambassador’s residence.
About two dozen people showed up outside the ambassador’s residence.
“We are protesting [Erdogan’s] policies in Turkey, in Syria, and in Iraq,” Flint Arthur of Baltimore, Maryland told CNN.
It is unclear what started the fracas between the opposing groups, which were shouting slogans at each other. One contingent displayed Kurdish and Armenian flags, as well as anti-Erdogan posters, while the other was waving Turkish flags.
The alleged members of Erdogan’s security details managed to disrupt the protest for a while.
“They think they can engage in the same sort of suppression of protest and free speech that they engage in in Turkey,” Arthur said. “They stopped us for a few minutes... but we still stayed and continued to protest Erdogan’s tyrannical regime,” he added.
This wasn’t the first time the Turkish president’s security detail has been accused of using fists to silence a public protest against Erdogan in the US. Chaos erupted in the streets of Washington during a visit last March, when his body guards repeatedly clashed with protesters and tried to expel journalists. They even confronted DC police when they refused to remove the protesters.
Trump warmly welcomed Erdogan to the White House earlier Tuesday.
"We've had a great relationship and we will make it even better," Trump said as the two men sat next to each other in the Oval Office. "We look forward to having very strong and solid discussions."
Trump has been criticized for not publicly condemning the Turkish leader’s human rights record and for congratulating him on winning a mid-April referendum that was widely seen as a way for Erdogan to consolidate power in a more authoritarian way.
Despite Trump’s praise, relations with the US and Turkey have been strained of late, and Erdogan brought a laundry list of complaints about American policies with him to Washington.
During private discussions, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence "raised the incarceration of Pastor Andrew Brunson and asked that the Turkish Government expeditiously return him to the United States," the White House said in a statement.
After Erdogan left the White House, the complex was placed on lockdown when someone jumped a bike rack serving as a barrier on the north fence line along Pennsylvania Avenue. The suspect was quickly taken into custody, the US Secret Service said.