A violent clash between the security detail of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and pro-Kurdish protesters resulted in nine arrests and two injuries. The brawl, which occurred outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., happened on the same day President Trump met with Erdogan at the White House.

The Guardian reports:

According to witnesses, a brawl erupted when Erdogan’s security detail attacked protesters carrying the flag of the Kurdish PYD party outside the residence. A local NBC television affiliate reported Erdogan was inside the building at the time.

Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said the altercation broke out between two groups but he didn’t elaborate on the circumstances. He said two people were arrested, including one who was charged with assaulting a police officer.

“All of the sudden they just ran towards us,” Yazidi Kurd demonstrator Lucy Usoyan told ABC, adding that she was attacked by a pro-Erdogan supporter.

“Someone was beating me in the head nonstop, and I thought, ‘Okay, I’m on the ground already, what is the purpose to beat me?’”

The controversial meeting between Trump and Erdogan came after years of a strained relationship between Turkey and the U.S. The Washington Post notes that while the two nations “are long-standing allies, their relationship has been rocky in recent years, with the Obama administration frustrated by Ankara’s Syria policy as well as by Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule.”

“Trump and Erdogan…stood side by side at the White House and promised to strengthen strained ties despite the Turkish leader’s stern warning about Washington’s arming of a Kurdish militia,” The Guardian adds. But mere hours after this meeting, protesters of Erdogan’s policies clashed with supporters and, according to numerous U.S. reports, the Turkish president’s security detail.

“They think they can engage in the same sort of suppression of protest and free speech that they engage in in Turkey,” one protester told CNN. “They stopped us for a few minutes … but we still stayed and continued to protest Erdogan’s tyrannical regime.”

Watch more video of the altercation, published on The Armenian National Committee of America’s Facebook page, below:

—Posted by Emma Niles

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