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U.S. contrasts NY protests to Syrian crackdown

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:12 AM EDT, Thu October 13, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The U.S. Embassy in Syria posts its message on Facebook
  • U.S. protesters can say what they want about the government "without being arrested or shot"
  • The U.S. doesn't claim "a vague foreign conspiracy," the message says
  • Syria says it is cracking down on terrorist gangs, not peaceful protesters

(CNN) -- The U.S. government struck back Thursday against what it called "lots of news" about the Occupy Wall Street movement on Syrian television.

In a posting on social media site Facebook, the U.S. Embassy in Syria said people in America are free to protest and organize without being arrested or shot by government forces.

The embassy has repeatedly condemned Syria for its deadly crackdown on protesters, despite Syria's insistence that government forces are operating against terrorist gangs.

"For sure there is a lot of unhappiness in America about the economic situation," the embassy wrote. "Unemployment is relatively high -- 9%. Housing prices keep falling, hurting more families. There is much debate between the two main American political parties about how to fix the U.S. economy. We don't know exactly what will happen next."

The message then added, "What we do know is:" and followed up with a long list of differences between the United States and Syria.

Elections next November won't be controlled by U.S. intelligence, but by an independent election authority, the message noted, adding that Occupy Wall Street organizers are entirely free to run as candidates or organize to support candidates.

"Occupy Wall Street groups will not be allowed to destroy public or private property, but they can organize more protests in other cities and they can say whatever they want about the U.S. government without being arrested or shot; the police will not shoot thousands of protesters; some Occupy Wall Street organizers have been arrested for disturbing public order (blocking traffic) but they won't be tortured, and no family will receive the body of a protester bearing torture marks," the embassy's message said.

International media and non-government organizations are watching "without interference from the government," it added.

Finally, the message noted, "the U.S. government may complain that some countries' currency policies are hurting the U.S. economy, but the U.S. government will not tell the world that there is a vague foreign conspiracy for which it lacks any specifics or evidence but that it says is encouraging the Occupy Wall Street or other protest movements."

Syria has repeatedly complained of foreign interference being behind the unrest in the country, which is part of the larger Arab Spring.

The message ended with the words, "Something to think about."

There was no response to the embassy message on Syria's state-run news agency, SANA.

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