U.S. Won't Choose Sides in Egyptian Upheaval

(Updated with information regarding the United States' stance on the mounting tensions in Egypt.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that the United States is "not picking between those on the street and those in the government," as the Egyptian people continue protest President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule over the nation.

Protesters call for President Hosni Mubarak to step down from power immediately.

Gibbs said the U.S. is hoping for an "orderly transition" in Egypt.

"I do believe orderly transition means change," Gibbs told reporters at a conference. "And what we've advocated from the very beginning is that the way Egypt looks and operates must change. That's why we believe we should increase the amount of freedom that is had by the Egyptian people on association, on assembly, on speech, on Internet, and open communication. "

Gibbs said that it is not the U.S. government's place to determine who runs for office in the country however.

"The United States government does not determine who's on the ballot," he said. "The question is whether or not those elections are going to be free and fair. That's what we would weigh in on and weigh in on strongly."

Earlier Monday the Egyptian army issued a statement pledging to refrain from using violence or force against protesters demanding Mubarak's ouster, according to Reuters.

"The presence of the army in the streets is for your sake and to ensure your safety and well-being," the army said in the statement, which was directed towards the Egyptian people. "The armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people."

"Your armed forces, who are aware of the legitimacy of your demands and are keen to assume their responsibility in protecting the nation and the citizens, affirms that freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody," the statement continued.

The government is urging protesters to refrain from acts of violence, destroying property, looting or terrorizing citizens or officials.

The army's statement came as protesters in Egypt attempt to organize a "march of millions" in Cairo on Tuesday to force Mubarak's resignation as anti-government riots continue for a seventh day.

Mubarak named a new cabinet on Sunday in an effort to pacify the riots. The new lineup, dominated by regime stalwarts, has been greeted with resistance from the Egyptian people. Tens of thousands of protesters filled Cairo's Tahrir Square on Monday, vowing to remain in the streets until Mubarak steps down. Activists have rallied behind opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei.

"We will accept no change other than Mubarak's departure," a protester told news agency AFP.

The demonstrations are backed by the Islamic fundamentalist organization Muslim Brotherhood, which is the country's largest opposition group, as well as Egypt's pro-democracy leader, Nobel Peace laureate ElBaradei.

On Sunday, ElBaradei addressed 5,000 protesters in Tahrir Square. He said that they "cannot go back," and called for "a new Egypt" in which every citizen "lives in freedom and dignity." ElBaradei will likely act as transitional leader to prepare Egypt for democratic elections and attempt to make peaceful contact with the military.

The protesters first took to the streets of Cairo to protest Mubarak's 30-year rule over Egypt last week. The demonstrations began as passive marches throughout city streets but grew increasingly violent as security forces responded to the massive crowds with rubber bullets, tear gas and water hoses. The death toll over the past six days has reportedly climbed to 102.

Thousands of policemen, backed by armored vehicles, have spread through Cairo, Alexandria, and other Egyptian cities to disperse the crowds that continue to gather throughout the city's major streets, bridges and intersections. Protesters have been staying in the streets late into the night despite an overnight curfew imposed by Egyptian officials.

On Friday, Mubarak appeared on television for the first time since the riots began He didn't mention stepping down himself and expressed support for the efforts of security forces to disperse the protesters, saying he was "on the side of freedom."

As the riots rage on, the United States has been working to organize chartered flights to evacuate its citizens and urges all Americans in Egypt to leave the country.

The Egyptian government has censored social media sites and deactivated cell phone relay towers in order to thwart the attempts to publicize the protests, as activists turn to social networking sites to conjure up fresh demonstrations. Many of the riots have been organized and made public via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and demonstrators have taken to the Internet to post countless photos and videos showing the erupting violence that has erupted.

The political upheaval has heightened global economic uncertainties and has created concerns about surrounding governments and the potential impact on oil supplies.

On Monday, U.S. stocks rose slightly as investors were reassured by news that the Suez Canal remains open. The 120-mile canal is the most efficient sea route between Asia and Europe.

"Traffic has been running normally, with 45 to 50 ships passing through the canal per day," Suez Canal Authority board of director's member Ahmed al-Manakhi told Reuters. "The Suez has not come under any attacks, and the canal is able to manage navigation."

--Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Theresa McCabe.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to @TheresaMcCabe.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

More from Stocks

Trump's 'Space Force' Could Launch a $1 Trillion Industry, Morgan Stanley Says

Trump's 'Space Force' Could Launch a $1 Trillion Industry, Morgan Stanley Says

Abiomed Stock Should Rise Some 12% From Here, Piper Jaffray Analyst Says

Abiomed Stock Should Rise Some 12% From Here, Piper Jaffray Analyst Says

Video: Here Is Why Carvana Isn't Worried About Amazon

Video: Here Is Why Carvana Isn't Worried About Amazon

Video: What Oprah's Content Partnership With Apple Means for the Rest of Tech

Video: What Oprah's Content Partnership With Apple Means for the Rest of Tech

REPLAY: Jim Cramer on the Markets, Oil, Starbucks, Tesla, Okta and Red Hat

REPLAY: Jim Cramer on the Markets, Oil, Starbucks, Tesla, Okta and Red Hat