Violence broke out Tuesday during a protest in front of the Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC’s Embassy Row, leaving at least nine people injured in what quickly turned into an all-out brawl.
The violence erupted after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Trump at the White House. Pro- and anti-Erdogan protesters were gathered outside the Turkish Embassy when men in black suits were seen attacking demonstrators. Some of the people involved in the fight included Erdogan’s guards, Voice of America reported.
The Metropolitan Police Department told BuzzFeed News that two people were arrested after the incident. Ayten Necemi, 49, of Woodside, NY, was arrested for aggravated assault and Jalal Kheirabaoi of Fairfax, Virginia, was arrested for assault on a police officer, police said Wednesday. Police would not confirm if Erdogan’s guards were involved in the brawl.
Video showed multiple people trading punches in front of the Turkish Embassy, including several men who were dressed in black suits. Some of the men were seen kicking people as they lay on the ground.
DC police could be seen trying to separate people during the fights.
DC Fire and EMS officials said nine people were taken to local hospitals with various injuries, including one person in serious condition.
The US State Department, the Turkish Embassy, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office, and multiple DC council members did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Washington Post reported Erdogan was not at the embassy when the fight broke out and is staying at Blair House across from the White House during his visit.
Tuesday’s violence was not the first incident sparked during a visit by the Turkish president in DC.
In 2016, journalists and protesters were also harassed by Turkish security outside the Brookings Institute, where Erdogan was scheduled to speak.