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Voice of America has posted videos online showing more footage of visiting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security guards attacking protesters as he watches from a car outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence on Tuesday.
The video shows men dressed in dark suits grabbing, hitting, kicking, and throwing to the ground protesters — mostly Kurds and Armenians — who oppose the president’s power grab and his ongoing abuse of human rights.
D.C. officials said nine people were injured in the incident, which took place after a couple dozen protesters congregated in front of Turkish ambassador Serdar Kılıç’s residence. Some waved a flag associated with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Democratic Union (PYD), which Erdogan’s government has labeled a terrorist organization, CNN reported.
One woman, Ceren Borazan, posted a picture of herself being manhandled by the guards on Twitter and asked for President Donald’s Trump’s help in making sure justice is served in the matter.
— Ceren Borazan (@CerenBorazan) May 17, 2017
The militia associated with the PYD, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), are allies of the United States, while the Turkish government considers them a terrorist organization.
Two people were arrested, one charged with assaulting a police officer, but it is unclear whether those arrested were protesters or Erdogan’s security personnel.
On Wednesday, D.C. police announced that they would pursue additional charges against individuals who instigated the violence, dcist.com reported.
“We are going to pursue everything that’s within our legal power to hold the folks that were responsible accountable for their actions,” D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said at a press conference. ”We intend to ensure there was accountability for anyone who was involved in this assault.”
The State Department issued a brief statement following the brawl, citing their “concern” about the incident. When asked by Breitbart News if the agency is considering taking any action, a spokesperson said the agency is working with law enforcement but could not comment specifically because the investigation is ongoing.
“The conduct of Turkish security personnel earlier this week is deeply disturbing,” the spokesperson said. “The State Department has raised its concerns about these events at the highest levels, and a thorough investigation that will allow us to hold the responsible individuals accountable is of the upmost importance to us.”
“The U.S. Department of State is working closely with local authorities concerning this incident,” the spokesperson said. “The case is currently under investigation and we are not going to go into specifics or speculate on what may happen.”
A writer at National Review wrote a commentary on Friday about the incident titled “Stand Up to Erdogan’s Assault on Democracy.”
“Erdogan is intolerant of any opposition, especially when it comes from those in the media,” Austin Yack, a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute, wrote.
“As of December 2016, 81 journalists, more than in any other country in the world, were in Turkish prisons,” Yack wrote. “The U.S. and its NATO allies must lead Turkey back on to the path toward democracy, not autocracy.”
“Turkey officially joined NATO in 1952 after establishing a multiparty election system in 1950. Nearly 70 years later, Turkey’s NATO allies must continue to hold all members to high standards, ensuring that they maintain democratic norms. If the U.S. and NATO remain silent on Erdogan’s violations of human rights, the number of Turkish citizens being persecuted will likely increase, especially now that Erdogan has the authority to control all three branches of government.”