The Egyptian Foreign Ministry issued a statement Tuesday urging the United States to exercise restraint while dealing with the protests over Mike Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.
According to Cairo Scene, the ministry spokesman said that Egypt is “following the escalation of protests and demonstrations in the city of Ferguson and reactions thereto” and called for “restraint and respect for the right of assembly and peaceful expression of opinion.”
Two protesters were shot Monday night after the curfew imposed by Governor Jay Nixon on Friday was lifted. Four police officers were injured when rioters threw heavy objects at them. 31 people were arrested on Monday alone. The protests began ten days ago, after Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson. (RELATED: More Violence Erupts In Ferguson As Two Rioters Are Shot)
The foreign ministry statement comes one year after the infamous Rabaa Massacre in Cairo, when over 600 people were killed after Egyptian police forces tried to clear out camps where supporters of the ousted former President Mohamed Morsi had gathered. Human Rights Watch called it “the most serious incident of mass unlawful killings in modern Egyptian history.” Among those killed over the course of that violent summer was 21-year-old American student Andrew Pochter. (RELATED: Egypt On The Brink As Hundreds Dead In Mass Violence)
Egypt’s sudden concern for freedom of speech and assembly comes a few weeks after President Barack Obama called for the release of three journalists jailed for reporting “false news” in the wake of the pro-Morsi protests. ”In the specific issue of the Al Jazeera journalists, we have been clear both publicly and privately, they should be released,” he said in early August. ”And we have been troubled by some of the laws that have been passed around the world that seem to restrict the ability of journalists to pursue stories or write stories.”
Over a dozen journalists have been detained over the course of the Ferguson riots, although most were released within hours and not officially charged.