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  • People demonstrate against the visit of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Ecuador in Quito on Feb. 4, 2016.

    People demonstrate against the visit of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Ecuador in Quito on Feb. 4, 2016. | Photo: AFP

Published 5 February 2016

Ecuador's foreign minister said the attack by the Turkish president’s security guards on the protest was irresponsible and against free speech.

The actions by the personal security guards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against pro-Kurdish protesters in Ecuador’s capital Quito were “irresponsible” and they had no right to attack the protesters as neither Erdogan nor his security guards were at risk, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said Friday.

During a press conference about the incident, the top Ecuadorean diplomat said "We will send a strong note of protest about the conduct of the Turkish security," to the Turkish embassy in Quito.

Supporters of the Kurdish struggle took to the streets Thursday in Ecuador’s capital Quito to protest Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was in Ecuador on an official two-day visit to finalize a trade deal between the two countries.

Several protesters were attacked by Erdogan’s security guards, including Ecuadorean lawmaker Diego Vintimilla whose nose was broken in a confrontation with one of the guards as he was protecting a female protester.  

Patino also stressed the guards had no right to act against freedom of speech in Ecuador, stressing that the responsibility to keep order was the local police’s job only.

"It is also a quite unjustified action by the Turkish government security to attempt to neutralize them [protesters] directly and in some cases affect and beat people who were irresponsibly screaming against the president," the minister said.

The attack was caught on camera by several people who were at the protest. In one video, Erdogan could be heard saying “"such disrespectful types will get the response they deserve," which is similar to the language he has used with protesters in Turkey as well.

The Kurdish solidarity demonstrators were protesting the Turkish government’s recent operation in the majority Kurdish areas in the country’s southeast in a bid to crackdown on the Marxist guerrilla Kurdistan’s Workers’ Party (PKK).

ANALYSIS: A History of the Turkish-Kurdish Conflict

However, according to the Turkish Human Rights Commision, at least 167 civilians have been killed in the Kurdish areas as part of the clashes between the Turkish military and the PKK since August last year.

WATCH: The World Today: State Terror in Turkey

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