A State Department spokeswoman pushed back against countries like Egypt, Iran and China that have chided U.S. law enforcement for its handling of protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, over the police shooting death of unarmed Michael Brown.
Marie Harf said such countries, which, at best, have mixed records on human rights and free speech, should avoid comparing themselves to the United States.
“We here in the United States will put our record for confronting our problems transparently and honestly and openly up against any other countries in the world,” Harf said. “When we have problems and issues in this country, we deal with them openly and honestly. We think that’s important, and I would encourage the countries you named particularly to do the same thing.”
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The Egyptian Foreign Ministry today urged authorities to use “restraint” against protestors, mimicking a similarly worded statement released by the White House in July 2013 when the United States advised Egypt to use discretion when dealing with supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
Iran’s top religious figure, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, has posted frequently about Ferguson on his Twitter and Facebook pages in recent days, including a post Sunday that read, “You are not alone in your complaint against the oppressive govt of US; the US has oppressed many nations. #Ferguson.”
And China’s state-run newspaper Xinhua published an op-ed urging the United States to stop criticizing other nations, like China, for its human rights and free speech abuses.
“Obviously, what the United States needs to do is to concentrate on solving its own problems rather than always pointing fingers at others,” it read.
Harf declined to address each country’s critique individually.