Egypt's latest uprising has a more violent feel
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The new dynamics in Tahrir Square began to take shape after four days of confrontations, and the determination of the protesters suggests they won't be leaving soon -- unless security forces try to clear the area.
Teams of volunteers provide medical aid, food and blankets, and motorcycles rush the wounded to field clinics. Youths in gas masks and goggles take shifts. Some have slings, while others make firebombs from soft drink bottles filled with gasoline.
A half-naked young man took his position over a charred car with an Egyptian flag in one hand as he flashed a V-for-victory sign with the other. He signaled when protesters should stand fast and when they should flee the tear gas.
A few yards (meters) of no man's land covered with rocks and ashes separated the two sides, with protesters chanting, ''Say it! Don't be afraid! The marshal must leave!''
Tires are set ablaze so demonstrators can hide behind the thick, black smoke.
Unlike the January and February uprising, the square is not family-friendly. The crowd is mostly poor and middle class Egyptians with a grudge against military rule. Others are those wounded by police in the earlier protests and relatives of those who were killed, demanding that those responsible face justice.
Two other groups are present: violent, die-hard fans of two of Egypt's top soccer clubs, el-Ahly and Zamalek; and ultraconservative Salafists who defied clerics' orders to stay away from the protests.