Over the past year or so, violence has become regrettably common at a number of political rallies and protests.
On Tuesday, however, things were taken to a whole new level when a video emerged showing a fierce clash between protesters and the bodyguards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan outside Turkey's Washington, D.C., embassy.
As Fox News notes, the Secret Service has since condemned the incident as a “brutal attack on peaceful protesters” — one in which two of its own agents, as well as one police officer, were injured:
On Wednesday, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham addressed the incident directly, including any concerns that police on scene didn't do enough to stem the violence:
"We are going to pursue everything that's within our legal power to hold the folks that were responsible accountable for their actions ...
The police involvement in that case was very dicey because there were some people up there that had firearms, and they had to safely restore order."
The chief noted that his department has “very good video” of the incident, and “will be able to identify most of the assailants.”
While Newsham didn't specifically identify the aggressors — noting that “diplomatic immunity” will come into play in his investigation — the U.S. State Department was less vague, confirming that it was President Erdoğan's bodyguards and “Turkish security personnel” that clashed with protesters:
Amid harsh criticism from lawmakers — including Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) suggestion to throw Turkey's “ambassador the hell out of the United States of America” — the Turkish Embassy has attempted to blame the protesters for the violence, saying:
The demonstrators began 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.
Spokeswoman Heather Nauert, however, made it clear that the State Department disagrees, saying:
“Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech ... We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms.”
The Secret Service has also announced that it is investigating the brutal clash, though it's been noted that diplomatic immunity will likely protect any of President Erdoğan's security personnel from prosecution.
Two people were arrested as the result of the incident, which left a total of nine people injured — two of whom were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.