WASHINGTON – The White House on Wednesday deplored and condemned violence against peaceful protesters in Cairo and said it was deeply concerned about attacks on the media.
“The United States deplores and condemns the violence that is taking place in Egypt, and we are deeply concerned about attacks on the media and peaceful demonstrators. We repeat our strong call for restraint,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley also called for restraint, saying on Twitter: “Egypt’s path to democratic change must be peaceful.”
The hurried US reaction to chaos developing in Cairo’s Tahrir Square followed President Barack Obama’s call late Tuesday for continued restraint by Egyptian security forces after days of protests against President Hosni Mubarak.
Obama also called on Mubarak to start a meaningful power transition “now” after the long-time Arab strongman said he would leave office after elections due in September but not before.
In Egypt, anti-government demonstrators accused Mubarak and his government of dispatching “thugs” to attack them, after hundreds of pro-regime partisans marched into the central square.
Clashes began almost immediately, as the two sides faced off, and some of the fiercest battles erupted in front of the world famous Egyptian Museum.
Inside the gates of the museum, soldiers formed a human chain to prevent people from entering the grounds.