Those loyal to Egypt’s president are fighting back.
But how spontaneous are the recent mass shows of support for Hosni Mubarak?
With tension still at boiling point, those piling into central Cairo, in defence of the veteran leader, seem sincere enough.Events in Egypt live
“We have had calm and serenity for 30 years,” said one pro-presidential demonstrator. “But for the last three days, we have not been able to sleep or go back home. I say “no” to all those who want Egypt to demonstrate against its president.”
But anti-Mubarak protesters who have converged on Tahrir Square say the push by pro-presidential activists is carefully orchestrated. So far, opponents have managed to drive what they see as Mubarak’s militia back.
Amid claims that many of the president’s partisans have been paid to battle for his political survival, Egypt’s new government denies any involvement.
But a photograph taken by Luis Carballo, our correspondent in Cairo, appears to show police coordinating their actions.
Egypt’s Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq has apologised for the fighting. An investigation will be held, he says, and the guilty punished.