Soldiers are patrolling the Cairo antiquities museum – home to the world’s greatest collection of Pharaonic treasures – after looters broke in and smashed exhibits.
Many of the artefacts are priceless and some date back more than 5,000 years.
Looters damaged two mummies and cleared out the museum gift shop before security forces arrived.
The prize exhibit, Tutankhamun’s gold mask, was not touched.
On Friday, many locals rushed to the museum to try to protect the building from such an attack.
The greatest danger could be its vulnerable location. It is next door to the offices of President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party.
They were set ablaze by protesters on Friday and then again last night. The area has been the scene of continual protests all week.
Dr Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Supreme Council of Antiquities, said: “What really scares me now is the building located on the eighth side of the Cairo Museum. This building is burning. If this building is destroyed it will go above the Cairo museum and this will be a disaster.”