A brutal altercation that transpired outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C. on Tuesday was witnessed in real-time by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, according to new video obtained by Voice of America.
In the video, Erdoğan can be seen speaking to his security detail as a brawl erupts between his bodyguards and demonstrators. At least 12 people were injured in the fight.
Ceres Borazan, a Kurd from Turkey, traveled from New Jersey to protest the president’s trip. She said a bodyguard threatened to kill her.
“They attacked women, children and the elderly with reckless abandon,” Borazan wrote in a Facebook post. “I ran in the opposite direction from our friends and got caught by one of the security guards. He put me in a headlock to the point where he popped a blood vessel in my eye.”
The fight took place just hours after Donald Trump praised Erdoğan’s visit to the White House as “a great honor.” He previously congratulated Erdoğan on winning a highly contested referendum that increased his presidential powers.
In an Instagram post, Borazan pleaded for Donald Trump to condemn the melee.
“President [Trump] can you please speak up for freedom of expression and right of peaceful demonstration?” she posted.
Trump has yet to comment personally on the skirmish, but the State Department did issue a statement saying it is “concerned by the violent incidents involving protestors and Turkish security personnel Tuesday evening.”
“Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest,” the statement read. ”We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms.”
Several lawmakers also condemned the assault.
“We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
In a letter to Erdoğan Thursday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said the bodyguards’ actions “violate the constitutional protections of freedom of the press and freedom of assembly enjoyed by all Americans.”
The Turkish Embassy meanwhile laid the blame on protestors “aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president.”
“The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense and one of them was seriously injured,” the Embassy claimed.
Watch the video below, via VOA: