Fifteen protesters involved in a brawl outside of the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington, D.C., in May 2017, filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the Republic of Turkey as well two Americans and three Canadians who allegedly attacked them.
The case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks unspecified damages for the protesters who suffered "repeated brutality" at the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security officials who they claim "pushed past U.S. law enforcement officers to attack the protesters," attorneys representing the victims said in a statement.
The Washington Post reported "five other victims filed suit May 3 seeking more than $100 million in damages from Turkey. "
Parents and young children involved in the lawsuit were part of a protest organized by pro-Kurdish and Armenian groups opposed to Erdogan's policies, which have placed new restrictions on freedom of expression and the press.
The bloody confrontation was captured on video and sparked a diplomatic dispute between the State Department and the Turkish government over who was to blame for the melee. U.S. officials sharply rebuked Edogan's security personnel in a statement, shortly after the altercation. While Turkey's Foreign Ministry said the brawl "was caused by the failure of local security authorities to take necessary measures."
"Our clients [...] were peacefully protesting human rights abuses by Turkey when they were kicked, punched and stomped by Turkish security officials – right here on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington D.C.," Agnieszka M. Fryszman, co-counsel for the victims said in a statement.
"This is an open and shut case because the brutal attempt to silence the demonstrators was captured on video. There is no immunity for this conduct and we look forward to proving our claims in court," she added.
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