The violent protest broke out after Turkish President Recep Erdogan visited President Donald Trump at the White House. Erdogan also visited the Turkish ambassador Serdar Kılıç’s residence on Tuesday.
NBC News reported that US officials told them that the men responsible for the violence are Erdogan's bodyguards.
US officials confirm to NBC News men who beat protesters outside Turkish Embassy in DC are Pres. Erdogan's bodyguar… https://t.co/myCkmEajMJ— Andrea Mitchell (@Andrea Mitchell) 1495035572.0
In a video of the fight published on the Voice of America’s Turkish Twitter account, police are seen trying to stop a group of men from attacking protesters.
— Amerika'nın Sesi (@VOATurkish) May 17, 2017
Some protesters gathered outside Kılıç’s residence in opposition of Erdogan’s human rights record, while others gathered in support of him.
In interviews with WJLA, protesters blamed the other side for starting the fight.
“We weren’t doing anything wrong,” pro-Erdogan demonstrator Mustafa Dikilitas told WJLA. “We just celebrated our president.”
Lucy Usoyan, who was protesting in opposition of Erdogan, said that his supporters attacked them.
“All of the sudden they just ran towards us,” she said. “Someone was beating me in the head nonstop, and I thought, ‘OK I’m on the ground already, what is the purpose to beat me?’”
Aram Hamparian, the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, told WJLA that the pro-Erdogan protesters were peaceful except for one group of men.
“They knew what they were doing, and they had the boldness to cross a police line and beat up a bunch of peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C.,” Hamparian said.
Washington’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department tweeted that they transported nine people who were injured from the scene:
Transported 9 patients from Mass Casualty Incident at Sheridan Circle, NW - 1 priority one - 1 priority two - & 7 p… https://t.co/CF1YKxX0Us— DC Fire and EMS #StayHomeDC (@DC Fire and EMS #StayHomeDC) 1494970804.0
FEMS units now clearing the scene - but all traffic around Sheridan Circle remains shut down to #traffic https://t.co/eXUg3s8RSW— DC Fire and EMS #StayHomeDC (@DC Fire and EMS #StayHomeDC) 1494970973.0
Spokespersons for the Turkish Embassy and the Metropolitan Police Department did not immediately return TheBlaze’s request for comment.
This post has been updated to include NBC News' report.