Ceren Borazan, a 26-year-old student, told BuzzFeed News she feared for her life during the altercation, which was widely shared on social media.
At least 12 people were injured, including one police officer, when the peaceful protest turned into a brawl involving Turkish security personnel, the State Department confirmed.
Two people were arrested at the scene of the altercation, which erupted after Erdogan met with President Trump at the White House. Pro- and anti-Erdogan protesters were gathered outside the embassy, where men in black suits were seen attacking demonstrators.
Authorities, including the mayor, police, and State Department, condemned the violent attack against the peaceful protesters. The State Department also said it was “communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms.”
The Turkish Embassy, meanwhile, released a statement blaming the violence on demonstrators who “began aggressively provoking” Turkish-American citizens who had assembled to greet Erdogan.
Borazan — a Kurd from Turkey who came to the US in 2013 — told BuzzFeed News that she and the others were at the protest “to make our voices heard.”
“But suddenly Erdogan's bodyguards — I'm pretty sure it was them — attacked all of us,” she said.
Borazan added that she saw some of the men in the suits with guns in their jackets. Police also said that some of the people involved in the altercation were carrying firearms.