US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday she was "not offended" by protesters in Egypt who pelted her motorcade with tomatoes, calling the demonstrations a sign of greater freedom and anxiety, and mainly regretting what she saw as wasted food.
Asked about the assault on Sunday in Alexandria, where protesters threw tomatoes, one of them hitting an Egyptian official in the face, Clinton attributed the outburst to nervousness about the changes taking place in Egypt.
"The sooner that there can be a government that takes responsibility, whose actions can be judged and held accountable, then people will be able to draw decisions because words don't mean as much as actions and therefore I was not offended," Clinton said in Jerusalem hours after arriving from Egypt.
"I was relieved that nobody was hurt and I felt bad that good tomatoes were wasted but other than that, it was not particularly bothersome," Clinton said.
She also saw the protest as "a sign of that freer environment that Egypt now enjoys. It is also evidence that the Egyptian people are still concerned about the future."
A senior US official said neither Clinton nor her vehicle, which was around the corner from the incident, were hit by the projectiles, which also included shoes and a water bottle. The objects were thrown as US officials and reporters walked to the motorcade after her speech.
Protesters chanted "Monica, Monica," a reference to the extramarital affair conducted by Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, while in the White House. Others earlier chanted "leave, Clinton," an Egyptian security official said.