Lombardo said the videos showed observers walking in the middle of the street with protesters "as officers attempted to get them out of harm's way and back onto the sidewalk." He said one of the legal observers "shoved her cell phone camera up to an officer's face in a confrontational manner." He said another one left a road median and leaned into a police vehicle "seemingly leading the crowd of aggressive protesters."
Even as relations between the United States and Russia face increased turbulence, the U.S. State Department has said that the country is welcome to send observers to the U.S. presidential election scheduled for November this year. However, the country did not refrain from referring to Russia's overtures as more of a publicity stunt. As the U.S. government accuses Russia of attempting to interfere with the electoral process in the country, state officials in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana have reportedly received requests for monitoring the elections from Russian authorities, the Washington Post reported. State Department spokesman John Kirby, during the daily press briefing Friday, said U.S policies allowed for foreign observers to be present during the electoral process and that Russia would be no exception if it applied through the proper channels. "We told the Russian government that they were welcome to observe our elections," Kirby told reporters.
Transparency International last week said its investigation into the Dec. 30 election found irregularities at 47 of the 50 constituencies surveyed, including fake votes, ballot stuffing, and voters and opposition polling agents barred from entering polling centers. It found the ruling party was alone in actively campaigning at all areas surveyed, sometimes with help from local law enforcement officials and government resources.