A host of local and federal security agencies — including the Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, National Park Police, U.S. Secret Service and State Department — are on high alert on Wednesday for the visit in Washington D.C. of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Security agencies are anxious to prevent the bloody events which marred Erdogan’s last visit to the US capital when his security detail was filmed shoving, beating and kicking protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence.
Six officers from the US Secret Service, two from the diplomatic service and one from the Washington police required medical treatment.
The worst injuries, however, were suffered by a small group of protesters , which included women, children and elderly men who were punched and pushed.
Some were kicked repeatedly by Erdogan’s bodyguards and supporters while they were on the ground, and at least two sustained brain injuries from which they are still trying to recover.
The protesters, Kurdish Americans, Armenian Americans and Greek Americans, among others, are making their own preparations for Erdogan’s return visit. They plan to turn up in far greater numbers to protest against Erdogan’s treatment of minorities, the Turkish incursion into Syria, the continued occupation of Cyprus, Donald Trump’s support for Erdogan and the failure to bring any of the Turkish security officers to justice after the last visit.
The Metropolitan Police Department announced it would close off parts of F Street and Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House to traffic Tuesday through Wednesday.
“MPD, along with our federal partners, have coordinated for the Turkish President’s planned trip, and we plan to take every measure possible to ensure we do not experience conflicts that were seen during his last visit to Washington, D.C.,” wrote Kristen Metzger, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police.
Protesters have obtained a permit for a protest in Lafayette Park, according to Sergeant Eduardo Delgado, a spokesman for the National Park Police. He estimated that the park has enough space for about 200 protesters, but he said he had “heard of no special measures” taken to prevent clashes similar to those of two years ago.
The State Department and the U.S. Secret Service declined to answer questions about security arrangements for the visit.