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Analyst: President Mubarak to Blame for Violence

Anti-government demonstrators carry a man wounded during clashes with pro-government protesters, at a makeshift medical triage station, near Tahrir square, the center of anti-government demonstrations, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. Thousands o

The chairman of the Alternatives Forum for Political Studies in Egypt, an independent political think tank, told VOA President Hosni Mubarak is to blame for the violent clashes between his supporters and anti-government protesters, who demand he “immediately”, step down and cede power.

Anti-government protesters are blaming undercover police for Wednesday’s violent clashes.

Amr ElShobaki said the country’s crisis could, in his words, be easily resolved if Mr. Mubarak steps down and hands over power to a transition team to lead the country towards democracy.

“For sure, he (Mr. Mubarak) is responsible because that’s the behavior of his party in every election and his police (for) 30 years,” said ElShobaki.

The United States has condemned the recent bloodshed in Egypt and has called on the government to show restraint against protesters. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday the United States “deplores” the violence.

He said any violence instigated by the Egyptian government should stop immediately.

ElShobaki said pro-Mubarak supporters often use violence to intimidate opponents.

“The problem can be resolved at the moment he (Mr. Mubarak) steps down now. And, for sure, Omar Suleiman and Ahmed Shafik, the vice president and the prime minister, can start a transition period to change the country,” said ElShobaki.

“We can start the democratization of this country in the system within the regime. But, I think it will be very difficult (because) the people can’t accept that from President Mubarak, especially after what we saw (clashes) yesterday (Wednesday) and the responsibility of the president for that.”

Chaos engulfed Cairo Wednesday as supporters of Mr. Mubarak and protesters calling for his ouster battled with stones, fists and clubs.

Reporters in Cairo's central square said troops fired warning shots in a bid to end the clashes. Army vehicles were seen trying to separate the rival demonstrators. At least one soldier was killed in the violence.

Pro-government rioters were seen throwing firebombs at anti-government protesters.

ElShobaki said anti-government protesters are likely to accept the prospect of the vice president leading the country on its path towards democracy.

“If (Mr.) Mubarak gives him the authorization to lead this transition, a (majority) of Egyptians can accept that. But, still, (Mr.) Mubarak doesn’t want to give this chance to Mr. Omar Suleiman.”