Egypt urges U.S. restraint over Missouri unrest
Egypt on Tuesday urged U.S. authorities to exercise restraint in dealing with racially charged demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri – echoing language Washington used to caution Egypt as it cracked down on Islamist protesters last year.
U.S. foes Iran and Syria also lambasted the United States, but while they are frequent critics of Washington, it is unusual for Egypt to criticize such a major donor. It was not immediately clear why Egypt would issue such a statement.
Ties between Washington and Cairo were strained after Egyptian security forces killed hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters following the army's ousting of freely elected President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry's statement on the unrest in Ferguson read similarly to one issued by U.S. President Barack Obama's administration in July 2013, when the White House “urged security forces to exercise maximum restraint and caution” in dealing with demonstrations by Mursi supporters.
The ministry added it was “closely following the escalation of protests” in Ferguson, unleashed by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman on Aug. 9.
Human Rights Watch said in a report last week Egyptian security forces systematically used excessive force against Islamist protesters after Mursi was ousted. Egypt said the report was “characterized by negativity and bias”.
In a second day of Twitter messages about the disturbances in Ferguson, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized the United States as “egotistical and unreliable”.
He also sought to link the unrest to Washington's support of Israel, sworn foe of Tehran.
“Brutal treatment of black people isn’t indeed the only anti-human rights act by U.S. govt; look at US’s green light to #Israel’s crimes,” he wrote on Monday, adding Washington was the world's “biggest violator” of human rights.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Takht Ravanchi on Monday accused Washington of “racist behavior and oppression”, the Fars News Agency said.
In Syria, another U.S. adversary, a bulletin from state news agency SANA accused police in Ferguson of “racist and oppressive practices”.
Pro-government media in Turkey, where the authorities came under U.S. criticism for a heavy-handed clampdown on weeks of protests around Istanbul's Gezi Park last year, also took a swipe.
“You were sounding off when Gezi was happening … You crook with double standards,” wrote Ahmet Sagirli, a columnist in the Turkiye newspaper.
Reporting by Maggie Fick in Cairo, Oliver Holmes in Beirut, Michelle Moghtader in Dubai, Selin Bucak in Istanbul; Editing by Alison Williams