Alwaght- The US State Department has strongly slammed Turkish President bodyguards' violent attack on anti-Erdogan protesters in Washington, DC.
"We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Wednesday. “Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech.”
The crackdown erupted earlier in the day, when protesters gathered outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence, where Erdogan was staying after meeting with his American counterpart Donald Trump at the White House.
The peaceful protests turned into violent clashes when a group of Erdogan’s supporters taunted the first group and attacked them.
The situation escalated after Erdogan’s guards and other Turkish security personnel interfered and violently beat the protesters.
DC Police said at least 11 people were injured and two arrests were made during the melee. Two US Secret Service agents were also assaulted in the brawl, an officer said.
Police Chief Peter Newsham said the incident was nothing but a “brutal attack” on peaceful protesters. His department was investigating the matter with the State department and the Secret Service.
DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser decried the incident as a “pretty savage beating” and said police and all city officials were determined to resolve the situation.
Republican Senator John McCain also censured the “thuggish behavior."
"This is the United States of America. We do not do this here. There is no excuse for this kind of thuggish behavior,” the Arizona lawmaker said.