Turkish media and U.S. officials say protesters denouncing Israel's military operations in Gaza have destroyed chairs and tables that were set for a Muslim fast-breaking dinner sponsored by the U.S. Consulate.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said eight people were later injured in fighting that broke out between some of the protesters and security officials employed by the municipality, which owned the tables and chairs. The incident occurred late Wednesday in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir as organizers were preparing to host the iftar, or Ramadan meal.

John Espinoza, who heads the U.S. Consulate in the nearby city of Adana, called the incident "deplorable."

He said the U.S would not allow "the acts of a few childish cowards to hurt the strong friendship" between the United States and Turkey.