A joint statement from the five European leaders said they are watching the unrest in Egypt with deep concern and condemned "all those who use or encourage violence, which will only aggravate the political crisis in Egypt."
In an unprecedented public show of their growing impatience with the embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s tactics to hold on to power, European leaders on Thursday urged him to go and pave the way for a rapid process of transition.
They also condemned reported government-sponsored violence against protesters and journalists saying such methods were "unacceptable".
In a joint statement, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said they were watching with "utmost concern" the deteriorating situation in Egypt and called for immediate steps to facilitate orderly transition to a post-Mubarak dispensation.
"Only a quick and orderly transition to a broad-based government will make it possible to overcome the challenges Egypt is now facing," they said.
The joint statement, issued through President Sarkozy’s office, made clear that "this process of transition must start now."
Condemning attempts to suppress the uprising, European leaders said: "The Egyptian people must be able to exercise freely their right to peaceful assembly, and enjoy the full protection of the security forces…We condemn all those who use or encourage violence, which will only aggravate the political crisis in Egypt."
Speaking in London, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said any attack against peaceful demonstrators was "unacceptable".
Amnesty International accused Egyptian authorities of complicity in attacks on protesters, journalists and rights activists.
"The lack of police on the ground responding to the violence is a blatant sign of complicity of the Egyptian government in the violence, or at best, the total abdication of responsibility for law and order at a moment of national crisis," said its secretary-general Salil Shetty.