• Hosni Mubarak regime left reeling as thousands defy curfew
• Police fire baton round volleys into crowds unwilling to retreat
Peter Beaumont and Jack Shenker in Cairo
guardian.co.uk, Friday 28 January 2011
".....Amid all the confusion, the first cracks in the 30-year-old dictatorship began to appear. A young policeman who moments earlier had been smashing protesters with a baton was forced to fall back, dropping his shield and helmet as he fled. Two protesters of the same age picked them up, ran towards him and handed them back. "We are not your enemy," they told the terrified conscript. "We are like you. Join us." Further down the road, platoons of security forces surged towards Tahrir Square. One officer took a teargas canister from his belt, held it up to the crowd and threw it harmlessly behind him. At one bridge, the Qasri Nile, the key battle of the day had earlier taken place, a vicious game of push and pull, that saw it change hands several times as the regime tried to seal the city centre from the huge crowds converging on it. "I missed my chance to revolt when I was a young man," said Dr Gihad El Nahary, a 52-year-old professor at Cairo University. "I am not going to make the same mistake now."
By 3pm local time protesters from Giza had fought their way through to Midan Dokki, less than a mile from central Tahir Square. There the riot police had also been forced to withdraw, leaving two security trucks and a handful of isolated conscripts behind. The young policemen were surrounded by a 100-strong crowd. A minority of the crowd made to attack the stranded policemen, but the majority held them back....."