In Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the Cairo demonstrations, protesters and witnesses said government snipers were placed on nearby buildings to try to quell the uprising over the weekend.
In a makeshift clinic in an alley near Tahrir Square, Dr. Mohammad Magdi said he had been up for two days straight treating injured protesters. “Most people who died were shot with a bullet in the heart,” he said.
With an almost unified voice, protesters all over Cairo accused the police and internal security forces of causing the violence and looting that marred the first week of demonstrations.
“Unsafe conditions in the squares is a professional plan from the government to make people afraid,” said a protester who identified himself as Dr. Sawy. “So people will think the government and Mubarak will keep us safe.”
Since a vicious crackdown Friday, police forces have vanished from the streets, leaving the population vulnerable to looters and violence. Saturday night, as gunshots were heard across the city, locals carried clubs and kitchen knives in neighborhood patrols. By Sunday night, the vigilante groups appeared more organized, erecting checkpoints on every city block in some areas.
Ms. Pillay, of the United Nations, also called for a “full investigation into the role of security forces in the violence that occurred over the past few days.”
In contrast to the public’s opinion of the police, the army in Egypt is wildly popular. Over the weekend, soldiers posed for pictures with protesters on tanks, while crowds chanted, “The people and the army are one to take down Mubarak.”
Egypt’s military receives about $1 billion in U.S. aid annually.
Despite the frenetic atmosphere and optimism among the crowds, daily life is getting harder in Egypt. Businesses are closed, trains are not running, banks are running out of cash and people are not going to work. International businesses are evacuating their employees and several countries, including the U.S., have evacuated nationals.
City services in Cairo have come to a halt, but protesters have banded together to keep some services running.
Volunteers direct traffic, pick up trash on the streets, fight fires and take shifts guarding the neighborhoods. Others cart water and food to protesters, many who stay on the streets for days at a time.
• Kara Rowland and Ashish Kumar Sen, both in Washington, contributed to this report.
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