News / Middle East

US Decries Use of 'Thugs' Against Egyptian Protesters

Supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, on horses and a camel, clash with anti-regime protesters in Cairo on February 2, 2011
Supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, on horses and a camel, clash with anti-regime protesters in Cairo on February 2, 2011

The United States Wednesday condemned what it says was the use of "thugs" against democracy demonstrators in central Cairo. A senior official said President Hosni Mubarak has little time left to prove he can preside over the reform process he has promised.

The Obama administration has refrained thus far from flatly calling for President Mubarak to step down.

But officials here are expressing outrage over Wednesday’s attacks on protesters by what they term "thugs" supporting the besieged Egyptian leader.

One senior official said while President Mubarak wants to remain in office pending elections for a successor, he now only has a "narrow amount of time" to prove that he can lead a credible reform process.

Related video report by Mohamed ElShinnawi and Laurel Bowman

Echoing earlier comments from the White House calling Wednesday’s violence "outrageous and deplorable", State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said the appearance on the streets of pro-Mubarak forces attacking demonstrators "changed the dynamic" of an already difficult situation.

"Let me differentiate between those who can bring forward their perspective on current events, as opposed to the thugs that we saw on the streets today, who are clearly trying to intimidate those people who have been peacefully protesting and expressing their strong views about a different kind of future for Egypt, "said P.J. Crowley. "We don’t know who unleashed these people. But there should be full accountability."

Crowley said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Mr. Mubarak’s newly appointed Vice president Omar Suleiman to call for an inquiry into the Wednesday violence.

The spokesman also said that retired senior U.S. diplomat Frank Wisner left Cairo Wednesday after meeting President Mubarak and Suleiman, Egypt’s former intelligence chief.

Wisner, a former U.S. ambassador to Egypt, is said to have delivered in person the message President Obama and other U.S. officials have stressed publicly in recent days, that a process of transition in Egypt must begin immediately.

The senior official who spoke to reporters here, asked why Wisner had been recalled so quickly, said only that his mission "had gone as far as it could."

The official said there is sentiment at the highest level of the Cairo government that they can outlast the demonstrators, but said in the U.S. view that is a "flawed assumption".

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs