Allow peaceful protests, Clinton tells Hosni Mubarak
WASHINGTON – The U.S. government is not providing any comfort to embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who fired his government following street protests and violence but on Saturday morning large crowds were gathering in a square that has been a staging ground for a revolt.
President Mubarak, in power for 30 years, made a televised speech in which he sacked his government and promised to listen to the protesters, but that did not seem to appease crowds gathering in Tahrir Square on Saturday morning.
Army troops and police are still on the streets of major Egyptian streets as the threat of citizen revolt across several Arab nations escalates with people emboldened by the Egyptian protests.
Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Mubarak’s government to restrain security services from oppressive behaviour.
“We continue to monitor the situation very closely. We are deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian police and security forces against protestors, and we call on the Egyptian Government to do everything in its power to restrain the security forces. At the same time, protestors should also refrain from violence and express themselves peacefully,” Clinton said while meeting with Colombian vice president Garzon.
“As we have repeatedly said, we support the universal human rights of the Egyptian people, including the right to freedom of expression, of association and of assembly. We urge the Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests and to reverse the unprecedented steps it has taken to cut off communications. These protests underscore that there are deep grievances within Egyptian society, and the Egyptian Government needs to understand that violence will not make these grievances go away,” added Clinton.
“As President Obama said yesterday, reform is absolutely critical to the well being of Egypt. Egypt has long been an important partner of the United States on a range of regional issues. As a partner, we strongly believe that the Egyptian Government needs to engage immediately with the Egyptian people in implementing needed economic, political, and social reforms. We continue to raise with the Egyptian Government, as we do with other governments in the region, the imperative for reform and greater openness and participation to provide a better future for all. We want to partner with the Egyptian people and their government to realize their aspirations to live in a democratic society that respects basic human rights,” she said.
“When I was recently in the region, I met with a wide range of civil society groups and I heard from them about ideas they have that would improve their countries. The people of the Middle East, like people everywhere, are seeking a chance to contribute and to have a role in the decisions that will shape their lives. As I said in Doha, leaders need to respond to these aspirations and to help build that better future for all. They need to view civil society as their partner, not as a threat,” Clinton added.