US officials criticize Turkey after attack on DC protesters

President Donald Trump, accompanied byTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washin

President Donald Trump walks Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his car following his visit to the White House in Washington, Tu

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials have criticized the Turkish government over violence outside its ambassador's residence in Washington.

The clash happened as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan returned to the embassy after meeting with President Donald Trump earlier Tuesday. Erdogan's security staff moved in to break up an anti-government protest after police refused to make the demonstrators leave a park across the street. Nine people were hurt.

On Wednesday, the State Department said "violence is never an appropriate response to free speech."

Turkey's official Anadolu news agency labeled the protesters Kurdish "supporters of terror." It said they chanted anti-Erdogan slogans, and that Erdogan's team moved in to disperse them because "police did not heed to Turkish demands to intervene."