US hits back at foreign critics of Ferguson

The Obama administration on Tuesday defended the human rights record of the United States against mounting international criticism of the police response in Ferguson, Mo.

"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," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

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"When things occur, as you’ve heard the president speak about, we look at them, as I said, transparently, honestly and openly, and we, of course, would suggest that other countries do the same thing."

Earlier this week, the foreign ministry in Egypt — a country that has been criticized for brutal crackdowns on demonstrators — called on the U.S. to show restraint in handling the protests in Ferguson, which began after the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Cairo "urged security forces to exercise maximum restraint and caution" and said it was closely following the escalation of protests" in Ferguson, according to Reuters.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also criticized the U.S. over the unrest.

"Look, in a country that claims to support freedom and human rights, the problem of racial discrimination has not been solved yet," Khamenei wrote in a post to his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Amnesty International, the global rights organization, also weighed in with criticism of the U.S. related to its handling of the situation in Ferguson.

"US can't tell other countries to improve their records on policing and peaceful assembly if it won't clean up its own human rights record," the organization tweeted Tuesday.

Harf said the Obama administration strongly disagreed "with the notion that what’s happening here is comparable in any way to situations in some of those countries" that had been critical of the U.S.

"People are free to say what they want, and they’re free to comment on things that happen in this country. I’m also free to disagree with the comparisons that some are making," she said.

On Monday, President Obama announced that Attorney General Eric Holder would head to Missouri to meet with community leaders and federal officials carrying out a parallel investigation into Brown's death.

Overnight, more than 30 protesters were arrested in Ferguson, and police said that they came under gunfire in clashes with the demonstrators.