Two people were arrested and nine were injured in a fight that broke out Tuesday between dueling protests outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Northwest Washington, according to multiple reports.
A video of at least some of the fight, posted online on the Voice of America’s Turkish-language Twitter account, showed men wearing dark suits involved in the fight. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had met earlier in the day with U.S. President Donald Trump, also spent time at the Turkish ambassador’s residence on Tuesday.
Members of both protests, one in support of Erdogan and another made up of Kurds and Armenians who oppose him, blamed the other for starting the fight in interviews with local D.C.-area TV station WJLA-TV. The Armenian National Committee of America’s executive director told WJLA-TV that the pro-Erdogan group was mostly peaceful except for a group of men who rushed past a police line to attack the other group, a story similar to what can be seen in the VOA video.
The communications office for Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department did not immediately respond to an emailed question as to whether or not either of the individuals arrested were part of Erdogan’s security detail or were otherwise connected to the Turkish government.
This isn’t the first time a D.C. visit by Erdogan sparked violence. In March 2016, Erdogan’s security guards reportedly attacked demonstrators and journalists outside the Brookings Institution in Washington.