At least nine people were injured when a protest outside the Turkish embassy in Washington turned violent on Tuesday. The chaos unfolded hours after US President Donald Trump met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House.
The protest turned bloody when fighting erupted between Erdogan supporters and Armenian demonstrators, according to The Associated Press. Video shows demonstrators, men in suits, and local police jumping into the fray.
Samantha Power, the former US ambassador to the UN under President Barack Obama, said of the violence on Tuesday: “Clearly Erdogan’s guards feel complete impunity, drawing on tools of repression they use at home & knowing he has their back, no matter what.” It was not immediately clear whether officials associated with Erdogan were involved.
Dustin Sternbeck with the Metropolitan Police Department told USA Today that two people were arrested and one was charged with assaulting a police officer.
A Turkish affiliate of the news organisation Voice of America posted video of the fighting on its Facebook page.
Watch a portion of the fighting below:
The demonstrations happened under the specter of strained relations between the US and its NATO ally Turkey because the Trump administration wants to arm Syrian Kurdish fighters in the battle against the Islamic State terror group, The Associated Press reported.
Though previous White House administrations have sought similar arrangements, the Trump administration made clear its intention to arm the Kurds, citing an effort to recapture key Syrian territory controlled by ISIS.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Jonathan Schanzer at the Washington-based Foundation for Defence of Democracies said the Turks see Trump’s plans as “a crisis in the relationship.”
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