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Clinton calls for peaceful transition in Egypt

January 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The massive, anti-government uprising in Egypt entered its seventh consecutive day with no end in sight.

Police in Egypt on Sunday tried to bring order back to Cairo neighborhoods, but anti-government protests were still going strong.

Warplanes soared over of the capital in what seemed to be a government show of force. But below, the streets of Cairo continued to be a cauldron of political change.

Thousands of protesters flooded the city square to chant prayers and calls for President Hosni Mubarak to leave office.

The situation in Egypt has the Obama administration walking a diplomatic tightrope.

Mubarak has been an important ally in the region for the U.S., but now the Obama administration is calling for change.

Egypt's ambassador to the U.S., Sameh Shoukry, said reform is coming.

"The president has indicated a willingness to continue the national dialogue," Shoukry said.

However, dissidents said otherwise.

"The people will choose the president by themselves, not Mubarak. Mubarak cannot choose for us," said one protester.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told ABC's Christiane Amanpour the U.S. wants a peaceful transition to democracy.

"We want to ensure there is no violence and no provocation that results in violence," Clintons said. "We want to see these reforms and a process of national dialogue."

State-controlled television showed Mubarak at a military command center. Whether he succeeds in holding onto power will depend heavily on what side the Egyptian military takes.

So far, they have refused to turn on the demonstrators.

The army was in police mode Sunday as tanks and troops rushed to put down a prison break in Cairo -- another sign of growing anarchy.

The former United Nations official Mohamad ElBaradei is now a leading Egyptian dissident.

He addressed protesters and said a new start means no Mubarak.

"It will not end until Mubarak leaves today," Elbaradei said.

Banks were closed on orders from Egypt's Central Bank, and the stock market was shut on what is normally the first day of the trading week. Markets across the Middle East dropped on fears about the instability's damage to Egypt's economy, and the region's.

A cutoff of Internet services remained in place after the country's primary Internet providers stopped moving data in and out of the country in an apparent move by authorities to disrupt the organization of demonstrations blaming Mubarak's regime for poverty, unemployment, widespread corruption and police brutality.

The death toll from five days of growing crisis stood at 74, with thousands injured.

The U.S. embassy in Cairo is urging Americans to consider leaving Egypt as soon as possible, but that's no easy task.

The only American carrier with direct service has suspended that service and the country's national carrier was forced to cancel or delay dozens of flights.

Hundreds of passengers are stranded at the airport, but for some, help is on the way.

The state department is now arranging to begin flying Americans out on chartered flights Monday.

As the chaos in Egypt continued, demonstrators again stood outside the Egyptian consulate in Westwood with flags and signs in hand in support of the uprising in Egypt.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.