Using clubs, bats, knives and even homemade spears, pro-Mubarak demonstrators charged the square at just before 2pm. They had been gathering for several hours 800 metres from the square on the Nile Corniche, outside the state television station
A significant number of the pro-Mubarak supporters are probably plain clothes secret police or loyal to Mubarak army units.
Sydney Morning Herald – The protesters, who have made Tahrir Square the epicentre of their anti-government demonstrations, said secret police were among the Mubarak supporters who took over the square. ”It seems to have been heavily choreographed,” a Guardian journalist, Peter Beaumont, reported from the scene. ”It’s quite clear some of these people came prepared for a violent confrontation. You can’t help feeling that it has all been heavily co-ordinated. It’s an extraordinary turnaround.”
El Baradei threatened violence and bloodshed and implied the death of Mubarak if Mubarak did not leave by Friday. Mubarak seems willing to test if El Baradei can back the threat up.
Pitched battles turned the area into a war zone as anti-Mubarak protesters tried desperately to hold on to the square where hundreds of thousands of opponents of the regime gathered peacefully yesterday.
Earlier today, a request by the army for those in the square to disperse was ignored.
At one stage, tanks attempted to move between the two groups but did little to stop the escalating clashes.
The pro-Mubarak protesters, numbering tens of thousands, at first said they had no intention of initiating a confrontation. Some of them admitted that they had been brought in by bus in from the countryside and some had swapped sides in recent days, saying Mubarak had given enough concessions and he should have time to usher through political change.