The United States on Friday called Egypt's crackdown on protesters a "deep concern" and urged Egyptian authorities to enact reforms and allow peaceful demonstrations.
It also called for the government to restore Internet traffic and social networking sites, which have been blocked as the protests spread.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Egypt, one of America's closest Arab allies, must respect the "fundamental rights" of its people, allow them to communicate, and avoid violence if the country is to thrive.
At the White House, press secretary Robert Gibbs used Twitter to echo the concern -- and say authorities should "turn on social networking and (the) Internet."
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak imposed a night curfew and signaled he would send the military out in the streets for the first time to quell swelling protests that pose an unprecedented challenge to his regime.
"Reform is vital to Egypt's long-term well-being," Crowley said. "The Egyptian government should view its people as a partner and not as a threat."
Crowley's comments were posted on Twitter, which along with other social media sites and the Internet itself has been blocked by Egyptian authorities as the protests grow. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was expected to address the unfolding developments later Friday.
The White House said President Barack Obama had several meetings with aides Friday about the situation in Egypt and related demonstrations and unrest in other Arab nations.
"Events unfolding in Egypt are of deep concern," Crowley said. "Fundamental rights must be respected, violence avoided and open communications allowed."