The White House on Wednesday condemned the violence that has erupted in Egypt, calling for restraint as protesters clashed with pro-government forces.

"The United States deplores and condemns the violence that is taking place in Egypt, and we are deeply concerned about attacks on the media and peaceful demonstrators," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in the statement. "We repeat our strong call for restraint."


The statement comes a day after President Obama urged that a transition in power from President Hosni Mubarak's government begin now. That call appeared to go unheeded on Wednesday, as television stations broadcast protesters hurling rocks at one another in the streets of Cairo while Egypt's army called on demonstrators to go home. Members of the media, including CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, also came under attack, according to that network.

The violence suggests Mubarak’s announcement Tuesday that he would not run again for the presidency in elections planned for this fall will do little to quell protests that he end his term immediately.

But the attacks on the media and the appearance of pro-Mubarak demonstrators will also raise questions about whether Mubarak is trying to ensure he remains in power.

“We are concerned about detentions and attacks on news media in Egypt. The civil society that Egypt wants to build includes a free press,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said on Twitter.

In his own comments Tuesday, Obama made it clear he wanted to see a swift transition in Egypt, suggesting the White House may think Mubarak's pledge to not seek reelection did not go far enough.

“What is clear ... is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now,” Obama said. “Throughout this process, the United States will continue to extend the hand of partnership and friendship to the Egyptian people.”

Obama planned a third straight day largely behind closed doors as his administration ponders its response to the Egyptian crisis. He had a meeting with senior advisers planned for Wednesday morning, and will meet with Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report A question for Robert Mueller MORE in the afternoon.

This story was updated at 11:03 a.m.