WASHINGTON (CN) – Protesters who claim they were pummeled by security guards during a demonstration outside the Turkish embassy last summer sued their alleged attackers and the regime they represent in federal court.
In a federal complaint filed Friday in the District of Columbia, 15 protesters claim they were assaulted and held against their will by security guards during a lawful protest outside the embassy.
“The demonstrators were peacefully expressing opposition to human rights abuses by Defendant Republic of Turkey against the Kurds,” writes Angieska Fryszman, of Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll, who represents the protesters.
He claims security guards and other supporters then rushed passed the embassy gates to silence those protests. “One woman was beaten so severely she lost consciousness and had a seizure,” the complaint says.
The plaintiffs claim they assembled for their protest to object to Turkey’s history of human rights abuses. Among other things, they allege the security guards committed a hate crime by silencing protests about a persecuted minority.
“Plaintiffs incurred injuries as a result of Defendants’ intentional acts committed as a result Defendants’ prejudice towards Plaintiffs’ actual or perceived race, color, national origin or political affiliation,” the complaint says. “Defendants’ persecutory conduct is the proximate cause of plaintiffs’ injuries and damages alleged herein.”
The protesters seek unspecified monetary damages.
The protests occurred as Turkish President Recep Erdogan and his foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, were meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump.
According to Courthouse News Reports coverage of the incident, “chaos broke out” in a park next to the Turkish Ambassador’s residence shortly before Erdogan arrived in Washington, D.C.