Clinton calls for restraint on both sides in Egypt conflict

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on the Egyptian government to restrain its security forces in the face of ongoing nationwide demonstrations calling for President Hosni Mubarak to resign.

But Clinton also warned protesters against using violence to press their case for greater political freedom. Demonstrators attacked government and police buildings, forcing Mubarak to send troops into the streets of Egypt’s major cities.

Mubarak addressed the nation and promised a new government would address the economic and social causes of the unrest. But his speech was far from conciliatory, warning that he would continue to defend the state against “chaos” in the streets.

Clinton’s even-handed approach reflected the Obama administration’s dilemma over how to handle the escalating popular protests against one of its most important allies.