Image: Mohamed ElBaradei
Peter Macdiarmid  /  Getty Images
Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei speaks to supporters in Tahrir Square, Sunday, Jan. 30, in Cairo. The city remains in a state of flux as marchers continue to protest in the streets and defy a curfew, demanding the resignation of president Hosni Mubarak.
NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 1/30/2011 9:27:01 PM ET 2011-01-31T02:27:01

Egypt's most prominent democracy advocate took up a bullhorn Sunday and called for President Hosni Mubarak to resign, speaking to thousands of protesters who defied a curfew for a third night. Fighter jets streaked low overhead and police returned to the capital's streets — high-profile displays of authority over a situation spiraling out of control.

Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei's appearance in Tahrir, or Liberation, Square underscored the jockeying for leadership of the mass protest movement that erupted seemingly out of nowhere in the past week to shake the Arab world's most populous nation.

Now in their sixth day, the protests have come to be centered in the square, where demonstrators have camped since Friday. Up to 10,000 protesters gathered there Sunday, and even after the 4 p.m. curfew, they numbered in the thousands, including families with young children, addressing Mubarak with their chants of "Leave, leave, leave."

"You are the owners of this revolution. You are the future," ElBaradei told the crowd after nightfall. "Our essential demand is the departure of the regime and the beginning of a new Egypt in which every Egyptian lives in virtue, freedom and dignity."

Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged “a peaceful, orderly transition to a democratic regime,” but refused to engage in speculation about possible U.S. sanctuary for Mubarak if he were driven into exile.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the Egyptian government to implement democratic reforms and stop violence against protesters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet that he was "anxiously following" the crisis, saying Israel's three-decade-old peace agreement with Egypt must be preserved.

Protesters have shrugged off Mubarak's gestures of reform, including the sacking of his Cabinet and the appointment of a vice president and a new prime minister — both seen as figures from the heart of his regime.

ElBaradei, the former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, has gained a following among young secular democracy activists with his grassroots organizing. But some demonstrators dismiss him as an expatriate long removed from Egypt's problems.

"Many people feel he loves prizes and traveling abroad," said Muhammad Munir, 27. "He's not really one of the people."

The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which wants to establish an Islamist state in Egypt, has made some statements that it was willing to let ElBaradei act as point man for the movement. But it also appeared to be moving for a more prominent role after lying low when the protests first erupted.

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On Sunday evening, the presence of overtly pious Muslims in the square was conspicuous, suggesting a significant Brotherhood representation. Hundreds performed the sunset prayers. Veiled women prayed separately.

A senior Brotherhood leader, Essam el-Erian, told The Associated Press he was heading to Tahrir Square to meet with other opposition leaders. El-Erian told an Egyptian TV station that the Brotherhood is ready to contact the army for a dialogue, calling the military "the protector of the nation."

Clinton suggested there were U.S. concerns over the possibility of the Brotherhood seizing direction of the movement. She warned against a takeover resembling the one in Iran, with a "small group that doesn't represent the full diversity of Egyptian society" seizing control and imposing its ideological beliefs.

Video: Chaos, show of force doesn’t slow Egypt protests (on this page)

The military was taking the lead in restoring order after police virtually vanished from the streets Friday without explanation after initially clashing with protesters. The disappearance of the police opened the door for a wave of looting, armed robberies and arson in cities around the country.

The anarchy was further fueled when gangs of armed men attacked at least four jails across Egypt before dawn, freeing hundreds of criminals and Muslim militants. Gangs of young men with guns and large sticks smashed cars and robbed people in Cairo.

Police began reasserting their presence, moving back into some Cairo neighborhoods. In some spots, they were jeered by residents.

Interior Minister Habib al-Adly said he was ordering security forces to return to the streets in Cairo and elsewhere to work in tandem with army troops to restore order.

"It is necessary that the police role is quickly restored and that there should be cooperation in the field with the armed forces ... to defend the present and future of the nation."

The police move could put an end to lawlessness and looting, which stunned many in Cairo and which the military struggled to control. But it could also lead to renewed clashes with protesters, among whom hatred of the black-garbed security forces runs deep — although it appeared the police would not be deployed in Tahrir Square.

“The looting is what Egyptians are mostly focused on right now," reported NBC News correspondent Richard Engel from Cairo. "Many people have set up private vigilante groups in front of their homes…. People are afraid. This is no longer just a political movement with protesters on the streets, but there is a basic collapse of law and order,” he said.

Image: Egyptians take items out of a shop in Cairo
FELIPE TRUEBA  /  EPA
Egyptians take items out of a shop in Cairo on Sunday, as looting and lawlessness spread throughout the city.

The official death toll from the crisis stood at 97, with thousands injured, but reports from witnesses across the country indicated the actual toll was far higher.

Engel reported that 4,000 people had been wounded and 500 others, many of them women, were missing.

Egyptians say they think the Mubarak government is allowing chaos to spread “in order to punish the people,” Engel reported.

"Those people who are looting are from the police, they want to scare us and make us stay home and not participate in the demonstrations," said Walid Ambar, an engineer who joined the crowds in Tahrir along with his 2-year-old son and pregnant wife. "This is a campaign to scare us. But I came here to join the demonstration and I will not leave until Mubarak leaves."

Minutes before the start of the curfew, at least two jets roared over the Nile, making several passes over the square, dropping lower every time and setting off alarms in parked cars. Some protesters clapped and waved to them while others jeered.

The military, which enjoys far greater support among the public than the police, fanned out in tanks and armored vehicles around Cairo. At Tahrir Square, they appeared to cooperate with protesters in keeping order, and there were many scenes of affection between soldiers and demonstrators, who allowed troops to use their mobile phones to call home or offered them cigarettes.

"I am glad they are continuing to protest. God willing, he (Mubarak) will go," said one air force captain in uniform who drove by the edge of the square.

One banner held by protesters summed up the military's dilemma: "The army must chose between Egypt and Mubarak."

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff  praised the "professionalism" of Egypt's armed forces in a phone call with a top Egyptian commander Sunday, as Egyptian troops refrained from a crackdown on protesters.

In a bid to show he remained in control, the 82-year-old Mubarak met with his defense minister and Omar Suleiman, the military intelligence chief whom he named as vice president over the weekend, to review the security situation. A tired-looking Mubarak was shown on state TV conferring with Suleiman and the new prime minister-designate Ahmed Shafiq, like Mubarak a former air force officer.

An unprecedented Internet cutoff remained in place for a third day after the country's four primary Internet providers stopped moving data in and out of the country in an apparent move by authorities to disrupt protest organizers. Egyptian mobile phone networks were back up but with text-messaging widely disrupted.

The lawlessness, uncertainty and indications of an attempted exodus from Cairo were gravely damaging Egypt's economy, particularly tourism, which accounts for as much as 11 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

Banks were closed on orders from Egypt's Central Bank, and the country's stock market was shut on what is normally the first day of the trading week.

On the first day of trading across the Mideast after a weekend of protests and violence, nervous investors drove stocks down sharply. Crowds of foreigners filled Cairo International Airport, desperate and unable to leave because dozens of flights were canceled and delayed.

Plans to evacuate Americans
The U.S. Embassy told Americans to consider leaving Egypt as soon as possible and said it was organizing flights Monday. It said it had authorized the voluntary departure of dependents and non-emergency employees, a display of Washington's escalating concern about the stability of its closest Arab ally.

Assistant Secretary of State Janice Jacobs told reporters Sunday that she expects it will take several flights over the coming days to handle the number of Americans who want to leave Egypt.

Jacobs acknowledged that Internet interruptions in Egypt are making it difficult for Americans there to get information about the evacuations. But she said they have been able to get information from people in the United States who do have access to State Department and embassy websites.

The charters will begin Monday from Cairo and will fly to Europe. Jacobs said the U.S. is looking at Athens, Greece; Istanbul, Turkey; and Nicosia, Cyprus as destinations. So far, she said, Americans have been able to get taxis, but she said people should wait until tomorrow before they try to go to the airport to get one of the charter flights.

Jacobs, who's in charge of consular affairs, said the U.S. will have enough flights to take out all American citizens and dependents who want to leave. And the U.S. may also send charter planes to other cities in Egypt, such as Luxor, if there are a number of Americans stranded there. She said Americans with tickets on commercial airlines should first contact those carriers about getting out.

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Americans taking the charter will be billed for the cost of the flight and will need to make their own travel arrangements home after arriving in Europe.

According to the State Department there are about 52,000 Americans registered with the embassy in Cairo. Officials noted, however, that many people don't register (or de-register when they leave) and some Americans in Egypt may not want to leave.

Americans looking for information on the flights should monitor the State Department and embassy websites or send an e-mail to egyptemergencyusc@state.gov. They can also call toll-free, 1-888-407-4747, from within the U.S. and Canada. From outside the U.S. and Canada people can call 1-202-501-4444.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki dispatched his presidential plane to Egypt to pick up Iraqi citizens, and the transport ministry ordered free transportation for Iraqis living in Egypt on Iraqi Airways planes, a ministry spokesman said.

Witnesses reported scenes of chaos at Cairo Airport, as people, including Egyptians, tried to catch a decreasing number of flights.

Canada also announced it would charter flights as early as Monday that will fly Canadians who wish to leave to London, Paris or Frankfurt.

Egyptian security officials said armed men fired at guards in overnight battles that lasted hours at the four prisons — including one northwest of Cairo that held hundreds of militants. The prisoners escaped after starting fires and clashing with guards.

Those who fled included 34 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose lawyer, Abdel-Monaem Abdel-Maqsoud, told the AP they were among scores rounded up by authorities ahead of Friday's large demonstrations. The escapees included at least seven senior members of the group.

State TV later reported that 2,000 escaped inmates were recaptured.

In the southern city of Assiut, officials said riot police stormed a prison to quell a riot, using tear gas and batons against inmates. An AP reporter saw army tanks deployed outside the prison, on bridges straddling the Nile and at police headquarters.

Video: Al Jazeera nets peoples’ trust, governments’ wrath (on this page)

The pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera said Egyptian authorities ordered the closure of its Cairo news hub overseeing coverage of the protests. The channel denounced the move as an attempt to "stifle and repress" open reporting.

The Qatar-based network has given nearly round-the-clock coverage to the unprecedented uprising and had faced criticism by some government supporters and other Arab leaders as a forum to inspire more unrest.

The Associated Press, Reuters and NBC News contributed to this report.

Photos: Farewell Friday

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  1. Anti-government protesters celebrate inside Tahrir Square after the announcement of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation in Cairo on Feb. 11. (Dylan Martinez / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Egyptians set off fireworks as they celebrate in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after President Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military. (Khalil Hamra / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. President Barack Obama makes a statement on the resignation of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak in the Grand Foyer at the White House in Washington D.C. (Carolyn Kaster / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Egyptians celebrate in Tahrir Square after President Hosni Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military on Friday. Egypt exploded with joy, tears, and relief after pro-democracy protesters brought down President Hosni Mubarak with a momentous march on his palaces and state TV. Mubarak, who until the end seemed unable to grasp the depth of resentment over his three decades of authoritarian rule, finally resigned Friday. (Khalil Hamra / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Protesters walk over a barricade after it was taken down to allow free entry to hundreds of thousands of Egyptians in Tahrir Square in Cairo February 11, 2011. A furious wave of protest finally swept Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak from power, sending a warning to autocrats across the Arab world and beyond. (Yannis Behrakis / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A spokesman for Egypt's higher military council reads a statement titled “Communiqué No. 3” in this video still on Friday. Egypt's higher military council said it would announce measures for a transitional phase after President Hosni Mubarak stepped down. (Reuters Tv / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Egyptian celebrates in Cairo after the announcement of President Mubarak's resignation. (Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Protesters celebrate inside Tahrir Square after the announcement of Mubarak's resignation in Cairo on Friday. A furious wave of protest finally swept Mubarak from power after 30 years of one-man rule, sparking jubilation in the streets. (Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. An Egyptian reacts in the street after President Hosni Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military in Cairo, Egypt, on Friday, Feb. 11. (Amr Nabil / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Thousands of Egyptian anti-government protesters celebrate inside Tahrir Square after the announcement of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation on Friday. (Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Egyptian soldiers celebrate with anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square on Friday. Cairo's streets exploded in joy when Mubarak stepped down after three-decades of autocratic rule and handed power to a junta of senior military commanders. (Marco Longari / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Anti-government protesters celebrate inside Tahrir Square after the announcement of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation in Cairo on Friday. (Dylan Martinez / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Egyptians celebrate the news of Mubarak's resignation in Tahrir Square on Friday. (Tara Todras-whitehill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. An Egyptian woman cries as she celebrates the news of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who handed control of the country to the military, Friday night, in Tahrir Square, Cairo. (Tara Todras-whitehill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Egyptian anti-government protesters celebrate minutes after the announcement on television of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday. Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had resigned. (Khaled Elfiqi / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Opposition protesters celebrate Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak's resignation, in Tahrir Square on Friday. President Mubarak bowed to pressure from the street and resigned, handing power to the army. (Suhaib Salem / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Anti-government protesters celebrate inside Tahrir Square after the announcement of Mubarak's resignation in Cairo on Friday. (Dylan Martinez / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. On Egyptian state television, Al-Masriya, Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman delivers an address announcing that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down, in Cairo on Friday. (TV via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Anti-government protesters celebrate inside Tahrir Square after the announcement of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation in Cairo
    Dylan Martinez / Reuters
    Above: Slideshow (18) Egypt's Mubarak steps down - Farewell Friday
  2. Image: Protester in Tahrir Square
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    Slideshow (61) Egypt's Mubarak steps down - Week 3
  3. Image: Egyptian anti-Mubarak protesters
    Amr Nabil / AP
    Slideshow (93) Egypt's Mubarak steps down - Week 2
  4. Image: Mohamed ElBaradei
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    Slideshow (83) Egypt's Mubarak steps down - Week 1
  5. Image:
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    Slideshow (17) Egypt's Mubarak steps down - World reacts
  6. Egyptian Bloggers
    Anastasia Taylor-Lind / VII Mentor
    Slideshow (10) Egyptian bloggers persistent in protests
  1. Olle Johansson / Sweden, Politicalcartoons.com
    Slideshow (21) Egypt Under Siege

Video: Chaos, show of force doesn’t slow Egypt protests

  1. Closed captioning of: Chaos, show of force doesn’t slow Egypt protests

    >>> good evening. lester is in egypt tonight. we will be checking in with him shortly on what is turn nothing another chaotic and dangerous night on the streets of cairo . protestors once again ignoring the curfew. the death toll stands at more than 100 now, with thousands more injured. tonight, the state department is making plans to evacuate thousands of u.s. citizens on chartered planes starting tomorrow. and signs today the white house may be distancing itself from the mubarak government. president obama said the u.s. supports "an orderly transition in egypt ." we have special coverage from cairo and across the middle east this evening, beginning again with our chief foreign correspondent richard engel in cairo . richard?

    >> reporter: good evening, kate. we have been hearing bursts of automatic gunfire tonight as soldiers fire on looters who are trying to raid a church. this is a situation now where no one is truly in charge, not the police, not the government, not even the army. the army has sent tanks into the streets and today, fighter jets buzzed cairo . egypt has gone from a police state to a state of chaos. but the show of force isn't stopping thousands of demonstrators.

    >> no one is afraid of a curfew. we have been afraid for 30 years and no one is afraid now.

    >> reporter: and with each day, more soldiers, the backbone of president mubarak 's regime, are joining the protests against him. but away from the rally, egypt is spinning out of control. looting has become widespread. the government pulled all police from their posts yesterday it created a drastic security vacuum. there have been breakouts at least five prisons. witnesses say up to 10,000 prisoners have escaped, murderers, rapist and also islamic militants . egyptians now fear crime and terrorism. the escape is included more than 30 leaders from the muslim brotherhood , a banned islamic group that has joineded the protests. in alexandria today, huge crowds gather to bury some of the more than 100 killed so far. medical officials tell nbc news, 4,000 have been injured and 500 people are missing. many of them women. for protection, egyptians are now relying on themselves. across cairo , a kind of mob justice is being established. gangs of vigilantes are stopping cars, setting up checkpoints them say they are looking for looters and thieves. the neighborhood guards are armed with sticks, metal bars, golf clubs , knives, anything they can find.

    >> it is very terrifying. everybody has gone into their house, their wives, their sisters, their brothers, everything.

    >> reporter: vigilantes have made hundreds of citizen arrest and witnesses say they have killed and beaten an unknown number of suspected looters. the arrival of vag lan test stopping cars at will has terrified foreigners in egypt . this revolt still has no single leader, but the former u.n. weapons inspector mohamed elbaradi, clearly wants the role. tonight, defying a curfew, he spoke to protestors in cairo and called for president mubarak to step down. you've taken back your rights, he told the demonstrators. what we have begun cannot go back.

    >> i feel he can form a government that can lead us out of this mess.

    >> reporter: but bar radke so far doesn't have broad popularity here. the noble laureate has spent much of his life outside egypt . president mubarak briefly appeared on television, meeting his national security council . military sources tell nbc news he has already handed some authority to his newly appointed vice president, omar suleiman . but the unrest and now crime here only seem to be convincing more egyptians that mubarak should step down to prevent more bloodshed. egyptian police have begun to redeploy across egypt . the government says they will return to the streets of cairo tomorrow. kate?

    >> richard, you lived there for four years. you know this place so well. you have been there on the ground for several days now. what is the main difference today from prior days?

    >> reporter: every day that passes, more and more average people, the working class of egypt , are joining these protests. it is not just a student movement anymore it is not a religious or political fringe movement t is the unemployed it is the average egyptian who has now decided to take his grievances to the street and ask for mubarak to step down.

    >> richard engel reporting again tonight from cairo . thank you.

Explainer: Key players in Egyptian protests

  • Image: A senior army officer salutes a crowd of cheering protesters at Tahrir square in Cairo
    YANNIS BEHRAKIS  /  Reuters
    A senior army officer salutes a crowd of cheering protesters at Tahrir square in Cairo.

    Protesters stormed Cairo streets in a bid to drive Hosni Mubarak from power, even as the longtime president set the stage for a successor by naming his intelligence chief as his first-ever vice president.

    The following are key players in the unfolding crisis.

    Sources: The Associated Press, Reuters

  • Ex-president

    Image: Mubarak
    Khaled Desouki  /  AFP - Getty Images
    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak

    Name: Hosni Mubarak

    Age: 82

    Role: Mubarak resigned as president and handed control to the military on Feb. 11, bowing down after a historic 18-day wave of pro-democracy demonstrations by hundreds of thousands. The former air force commander had ruled Egypt for 30 years as leader of the National Democratic Party.

    Background: Mubarak was thrust into office when Islamists gunned down his predecessor Anwar Sadat at a military parade in 1981. He has long promoted peace abroad and on the domestic front he has kept a tight lid on political opposition. He has resisted any significant political change even under pressure from the United States. The U.S. has poured billions of dollars of military and other aid into Egypt since it became the first Arab state to make peace with Israel, signing a treaty in 1979.

    Controversy: Mubarak won the first multicandidate presidential election in 2005 although the outcome was never in doubt and his main rival came in a distant second. Rights groups and observers said the election was marred by irregularities.

    Personal note: There have been questions about his health after surgery in Germany last March.

  • New VP

    Arno Burgi  /  EPA
    Omar Suleiman

    Name: Omar Suleiman
    Age: 74
    Role: The intelligence chief and Mubarak confidant became Egypt's first vice president in three decades on Jan. 29. The move clearly set up a succession that would hand power to Suleiman and keep control of Egypt in the hands of military men.
    Military man: He has been the director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Services since 1993, a part in which he has played a prominent public role in diplomacy, including in Egypt's relations with Israel and the United States. In 1992 he headed the General Operations Authority in the Armed Forces and then became the director of the military intelligence unit before taking over EGIS. Suleiman took part in the war in Yemen in 1962 and the 1967 and 1973 wars against Israel.
    Intel chief: Suleiman was in charge of the country's most important political security files, and was the mastermind behind the fragmentation of Islamist groups who led the uprising against the state in the 1990s.

  • New PM

    Image: Ahmed Shafiq
    Mohamed Abd El Ghany  /  Reuters
    Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafiq.

    Name: Ahmed Shafiq
    Age: 69
    Role: President Mubarak appointed Shafiq as prime minister on Jan. 29.
    Background: A close associate of Mubarak, Shafiq has been minister of civil aviation since 2002. As minister of civil aviation, Shafiq has won a reputation for efficiency and administrative competence. He has supervised a successful modernization program at the state airline, EgyptAir, and improvements to the country's airports.
    Former fighter pilot: Shafiq served as commander of the Egyptian air force between 1996 and 2002, a post Mubarak held before he became vice president of Egypt under former President Anwar Sadat.

  • Rival

    Mohamed ElBaradei
    John Macdougall  /  AFP - Getty Images
    Mohamed ElBaradei

    Name: Mohamed ElBaradei
    Age: 68
    Role: The Nobel Peace Prize winner joined demonstrators trying to oust Mubarak. ElBaradei has suggested he might run for president if democratic and constitutional change were implemented.
    Atomic watchdog: ElBaradei joined the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1984 and served as its director-general in 1997. He transformed the IAEA into a body bold enough to take a stand on political issues relating to peace and proliferation, despite critics' belief that it was not its place. In 2005, ElBaradei and the IAEA were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He retired in 2009.
    Law and diplomacy: He studied law, graduating from the University of Cairo and the New York University School of Law. He began his career in the Egyptian diplomatic service in 1964, working twice in the permanent missions of Egypt to the United Nations in New York and Geneva. He was in charge of political, legal and arms control issues. He was a special assistant to the Egyptian foreign minister and was a member of the team that negotiated the peace settlement with Israel at Camp David in 1978. He joined the United Nations two years later.
    On Iraq: ElBaradei was outspoken on the lack of evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, which angered the Bush administration.

  • On guard

    Image:
    Lefteris Pitarakis  /  AP
    Egyptian army soldiers in Tahrir square in Cairo.

    Name: Egyptian Armed Forces
    Role: The army remains the most powerful institution in the nation, and whatever it does next will determine the future of the Arab world's most populous country. The military appeared to be going to great lengths to calm the country without appearing opposed to  demonstrations. 
    Background: Egypt's 500,000-man army has long enjoyed the respect of citizens who perceive it as the country's least corrupt and most efficient public institution, particularly compared to a police force notorious for heavy handedness and corruption. It is touted as having defeated Israel in the 1973 Mideast War, and revered for that role.
    Stabilizer: The military, for its part, sees itself as the guarantor of national stability and above the political fray, loyal to both the government and what it sees as the interests of the general population. The military has given Egypt all of its four presidents since the monarchy was toppled in 1952.
    Provider:  Although it has almost completely withdrawn from politics since 1952, the army has added to its strength by venturing into economic activity, playing a growing role in such key service industries as food production and construction. It stepped in in 2008 during an acute shortage of bread, Egypt's main stable, which it provided from its own bakeries. It has since opened outlets for basic food items sold as vastly discounted prices.

  • The Brotherhood

    Image: Mohamed Badie
    Asmaa Waguih  /  Reuters
    Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie

    Name: Muslim Brotherhood
    Role: The brotherhood is Egypt's largest and most organized political opposition movement. Banned in 1954 on charges of using violence, members returned to Egypt to show support in protests.
    Background: The group said it has since denounced violence and expanded its international presence. It has participated in Egyptian elections as independents despite frequent crackdowns. It surprisingly won about 20 percent of the 454 seats in 2005 parliamentary elections and since then, authorities have jailed around 5,000 of its members. The group believes in Islamic rule.
    New audience: The Muslim Brotherhood is the focus of a TV series, "Al-Gamaa," or "The Group," which centers on a 2009 court case in which members were accused of setting up a student militia.

  • Mubarak's son

    Image: Gamal Mubarak
    Khaled El Fiqi  /  EPA
    Gamal Mubarak

    Name: Gamal Mubarak
    Age: 47
    Role: Served as secretary general of his father's National Democratic Party.
    Background: The younger Mubarak spent 11 years working at Bank of America in Cairo and London, had gained considerable influence in government after his father appointed him head of the ruling National Democratic Party's (NDP) policy committee in 2002. Many Egyptians felt Mubarak was grooming Gamal as his successor. Before Gamal rose to prominence, speculation was rife in the 1990s that Mubarak wanted Alaa, Gamal's younger brother, to succeed him.

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