Russia blasts West for 'unjustified cruelty' against OWS

San Diego police arrest a member of Occupy San Diego near the entrance to the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in San Diego, California December 12, 2011 (Reuters / Mike Blake)
The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement saying that authorities in the US and Western European countries used an element of unjustified cruelty and disproportionate use of force against participants of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The statement was voiced by the Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, Konstantin Dolgov. "As for the authorities' reaction to these protests, including in the US, we could see elements of unjustified cruelty and, in some cases, disproportionate use of force," Dolgov said.

"News TV channels regularly show pictures of brutal [crowd] dispersal by law enforcement bodies of tent camps and peaceful protest demonstrations," the Foreign Ministry official said.

"Moscow does not question the importance of maintaining public security, law and order, or the need for authorities to act within the framework of the constitution and relevant international obligations. At the same time, we have to note that the governments in the US and a number of Western European countries do not always act appropriatelyin facing a wave of people's protests," Dolgov said.

"We presume that the leaderships of the above-mentioned states will plan their practical steps toward peaceful demonstrations in strict conformity with international law and universally-recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms. We are continuing to closely the developments follow," he said.

"Judging by media reports, most of these events pass peacefully on the whole, without the use of force and without unlawful actions by the protesters. They are thus exercising their democratic rights to free expression and the rights to free assembly and association, which are also guaranteed by fundamental international treaties and agreements, including the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights," Dolgov said.

The Occupy Wall Street movement started in New York City in September 2011. About 1,000 people set up a tent camp in the city center to draw public attention to the governments’ handling of the financial crisis and preferences to the wealthy at the expense of the common people.

On September 24, police dissolved the tent camp and arrested about 10 people. In mid-October the Occupy Wall Street movement spread around the world. One month later, the US authorities began to suppress the movement, using tear gas and other special means. The arrests continued into December.