How bad is the situation in Ferguson, Mo., where America’s ongoing racial tensions have led to clashes between residents of the town and the local police for several nights? Egyptian officials have released a statement urging the United States to exercise restraint in dealing with protestors. No, this is not a repost from The Onion.
The story, in fact, comes by way of NBC News, which reported on Tuesday that Egypt’s Foreign Ministry released a statement on the unrest in Ferguson. The statement, according to NBC, closely resembled a similar statement issued by the U.S. in July of 2013.
Back then, the U.S. “urged security forces to exercise maximum restraint and caution” when dealing with supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
Egypt also saw considerable upheaval three years ago as security forces cracked down on demonstrations in Tahrir Square. Egypt’s response to those demonstrations – wherein protestors called for greater freedoms – included the use of tear gas and rubber bullets, as well as bird shot and live ammunition. Protestors, at the time, were known to be throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Egypt’s security forces.
At the time, then-White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the U.S. was “deeply concerned” by the violence and “tragic loss of life.” The U.S. called for “restraint on all sides, so that Egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united Egypt.”
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said that it was “closely following the escalation of protests” in Ferguson, which have seen near nightly clashes between largely African-American protestors and an overwhelmingly white police force.
Egypt’s statement is likely a bit of tit for tat from a reportedly oppressive government, a thumb in the eye of the United States at a time when the U.S.’ long-running racial tensions have again come to a boil. That the situation in Ferguson has garnered such snarky attention that corner of the world, though, is telling.
“The eyes of the world are watching,” Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said of the situation last week. Nixon’s statements came alongside an order that instituted a curfew in Ferguson, enforced by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and declared a state of emergency in the town. The curfew required that citizens not demonstrate in the streets between the hours of 12 and 5 am.
Night after night, the situation in Ferguson has spiraled into violence, with protestors demanding justice in the wake of the slaying of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Some nights have seen rioting and destruction of local property, and police have responded with sonic weapons, tear gas, and rubber bullets.