People protesting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s visit today go a taste of what life is like now in Turkey, as they were beaten by Erdogan security outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC.
Lucy Osoyan and her friends were peacefully protesting Erdogan’s visit to Washington yesterday when a group of men attacked them leaving some bloodied.
“They ran towards us and they began to beat everyone,” said Helen Mann. “I don’t know how I ended up being on the ground, and then they begin to beat me in the head.”
Police reported that 11 people were injured, including a Washington police officer, and two arrested. Osoyan was hospitalized for her injuries.
She believes the men, who hurled insults at her and the other protesters before attacking, were members of Erdogan’s security detail.
“Those people were professionals,” she said. “They were not regular people.”
‘We were just expressing our feelings about what Erdogan is doing in Turkey. We never were expecting that something like this would happen.’
NBC News is reporting that the Turkish president’s bodyguards were involved in the brawl.
A number of U.S. government officials have spoken out against Tuesday’s violence.
“We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called it “violent attack on a peaceful demonstration” and “an affront to DC values and our rights as Americans.”
Ayten Necmi, 49, of Woodside, N.Y. was charged with aggravated assault, police said. Jalal Kheirabadi, 42, of Fairfax, Va., is charged with assaulting a police officer.
The protest organizers told the New York Times that those arrested were part of the group demonstrating against Erdogan.
Police Chief Peter Newsham said at a news conference Wednesday that officers are examining video to identify those responsible, but added that there may be issues with diplomatic immunity.
“The actions seen outside the Turkish Embassy yesterday in Washington, D.C. stand in contrast to the First Amendment rights and principles we work tirelessly to protect each and every day,” a police statement read.
Osoyan hopes officials will back up their words with actions.
“We had two little children with us. We were just expressing our feelings about what Erdogan is doing in Turkey. We never were expecting that something like this would happen,” she said. “I would really ask for justice and I would really ask the U.S. government take this action seriously.”
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