Dozens of protesters carrying flags associated with the Syrian Kurdish PYD party and anti-Turkey protest signs gathered outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence on Tuesday during Mr Erdogan’s visit to the building.
Shocking video filmed by eyewitnesses show several men in dark suits - later identified as members of the visiting Turkish delegation - rushing at the protesters, punching and knocking several of them to the ground.
An elderly man holding a megaphone was kicked in the face, and several women were also hit. Police officers can be seen attempting to hold some of the aggressors back, dragging them to the other side of the road, in footage distributed by Voice of America.
“All of the sudden they just ran towards us,” demonstrator Lucy Usoyan told ABC News.
“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 violence led to nine hospital admissions and two arrests, a police department spokesperson said, without elaborating on the nature of the incident.
President Erdogan met with US President Donald Trump earlier on Tuesday.
While both leaders reiterated the strong ties between the two Nato countries and a united desire to fight terrorism, the visit comes amid strained relations thanks to the US’ decision last week to publicly fund and arm Kurdish militias in Syria fighting Isis.
Turkey views the separatist Kurdistan People’s Party (PKK) and its affiliates in Syria, the PYD, as terrorist organisations - but the US sees Kurdish militias as the most effective ground forces against the extremist organisation.
Tuesday’s protest was organised by Kurds, Yazidis and Armenians whom are critical of Turkey’s intervention in the Syrian civil war and President Erdogan’s human rights record.
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