A Russian ruling party MP has reacted to Washington’s criticism of the sentences given to participants of 2012 Moscow riots, saying that under similar circumstances the US police would use lethal force against protesters.
Alyona Arshinova of the United Russia parliamentary caucus emphasized that the sentences in the so called Bolotnaya Square case had been given only to those who had attacked law enforcement officers, and US laws provide that police can use firearms in such circumstances.
“US law enforcers can use firearms even in less straightforward situations. One example of this was the tragedy in the town of Ferguson.” The lawmaker told the RIA Novosti news agency on Tuesday.
Arshinova’s reaction was prompted by US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf who on Monday started her press briefing with a statement that the US was “deeply concerned” about the sentences handed down to four Russians who had been found guilty of attacking police and participating in mass riots in Moscow in May 2012. The US officials called the whole Bolotnaya Square process “politically minded” and added that it had been “marked by a lack of due process,” without going into details.
MP Arshinova said the State Department officials should "start looking for the plank in their own eye.”
“A teenager was kneeling before policemen with his arms raised and still he was shot six times. It is worth remembering that over 400 people in the US become victims of policemen every year.”
“The US Department of State should be concerned about the situation in their own country. Instead of trying to calm the people after the killing of a young black man by the police they are deploying the National Guard against their own people. This means that the number of victims can increase,” the Russian politician stated.
Later on Tuesday Russian Foreign Ministry’s plenipotentiary for Human Rights Konstantin Dolgov commented on the events in Ferguson saying the unrest was a vivid demonstration of the extreme tensions that exist in modern American society.
He added that the curfew, the violent dispersing of rallies and the deployment of the National Guard to the town of Ferguson were a repetition of the “race cataclysms” that had shaken the United States in the past.
Dolgov said the extreme reaction of the authorities was proof of the deep and systemic problems with human rights and the standards of democracy in US society.
“While demanding that other countries guarantee the freedom of speech and stop suppressing anti-government protests, at home the US authorities never show any leniency towards those who actively express their discontent with inequality, de-facto discrimination, and the position of second rate citizens. As we have all seen, reporters who perform their professional duty also get their share of ill treatment,” read the comment posted on the ministry’s website.
The police used tear gas against protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday more than two hours before the start of an extended curfew announced by the authorities. The protests were prompted by the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man who was shot and killed by a police officer last Saturday.
On Monday morning the Missouri governor announced that he had signed an executive order directing National Guard troops to protect the area from “deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property.” On Monday night the confrontation in Ferguson resumed, as police used tear gas to disperse protesters. Law enforcers also used live ammunition against the crowd and two people were injured. Thirty-one people, including a journalist were arrested.