Reports of machine gun fire and Molotov cocktails lobbed at anti-government demonstrators in Cairo by pro-Mubarak forces sparked a flurry of disapproving commentary from the West on Wednesday and stoked concerns about Egypt’s volatility in the Middle East. –KA


The time for a political transition in Egypt “is now,” U.S. presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs said. The Egyptian people “need to see change,” and a “meaningful transition must include opposition voices and parties being involved in this process as we move toward free and fair elections.”

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley denounced the attacks, calling them “a direct threat to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.”

“The use of violence to intimidate the Egyptian people must stop. We strongly call for restraint,” he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that “if it turns out that the (Mubarak) regime in any way has been sponsoring or tolerating this violence, that would be completely and utterly unacceptable.”

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