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US urges restraint in Egypt, says government stable

Anti-government protesters clash with police in downtown Cairo January 25, 2011. Thousands of Egyptians demanded an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule and clashed with police on Tuesday, in unprecedented protests inspired by the revolt that brought down Tunisia's president. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday urged all sides in Egypt to refrain from violence following clashes between security forces and demonstrators inspired by the revolt that toppled Tunisia’s president this month.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also said that the United States believed that the government of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in power for three decades, was stable and looking for ways to meet the Egyptian people’s aspirations.

“We support the fundamental right of expression and assembly for all people and we urge that all parties exercise restraint and refrain from violence,” Clinton told reporters in response to a question at a news conference.

“Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people,” she added.

“Down, down, Hosni Mubarak,” chanted protesters in Cairo, where police fired teargas and used water cannon, and protesters hurled bottles and rocks at them. Some protesters chased police down side streets and Reuters TV footage showed one policeman joining the demonstrators.