Anti-Erdogan Protesters Punched as Security Removes Them From New York Event

At least two people protesting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in New York on September 21 were punched in the head and other areas of their body as security removed them from the event, footage from Voice of America shows.

Erdogan was moments into an address to the Turkish American National Steering Committee at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square when protesters began yelling, sparking an angry reaction from most in the audience, who then began chanting in support of Erdogan. Security moved quickly to remove the demonstrators.

A Periscope livestream by Turkish Journal showed a man with an American accent wearing a Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) T-shirt and shouting: “You are a terrorist! Get out of my country!”

That man is also seen near the start of the VOA footage being escorted from the venue. As he is being pulled through the crowd toward an exit, he is punched in the head at least once by a man in a dark suit.

The VOA footage also shows another male protester being led by security through the crowd. Members of the audience are seen hitting the protester in the head and upper body as he passes through.

Meghan Bodette, the Director of Outreach at Kurdistan Aid, identified herself on Twitter as one of the protesters who was removed from the event. Bodette tweeted a video which showed her standing on a chair in the venue and raising the flag of the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units before other audience members are seen to pull it from her grasp.

After the event, Bodette shared a photo of herself and two men in a Café Metro restaurant, writing: “We are alive.” One of the men appears to be the protester who wore the YPG T-shirt.

The events came hours after US President Donald Trump met with Erdogan and described him as a “friend,” and four months after members of Erdogan’s security detail violently attacked protesters in Washington.

A day before the New York event, US Vice President Mike Pence criticized the United Nations Human Rights Council, saying it attracted and welcomed “many of the worst human rights violators in the world,” and needed to be reformed. Credit: VOA Turkish via Storyful