Continued from page 1

Many food items now cost two to 10 times what they were just a week ago, and the instability has cost the country $310 million a day, according to early estimates by Credit Agricole bank.

Others say the strength of the people’s voice in Egypt will dissipate if protests continue. They worry that demonstrators will grow tired and observers will grow bored with the show.

“You need to recharge your batteries and at the same time being ready for a new action,” said Amir Mohsen, a business development specialist. “[The demonstrators] will get fewer and fewer if they stay there.”

Some viewed the government’s talks with the opposition and its concessions as a ploy to pacify the protesters without having to actually implement real reforms and end the demonstrations.

But in Tahrir Square on Sunday, the protests showed no signs of slowing.

Tens of thousands of people crossed several checkpoints to get to the square. Bags were searched, IDs checked and scores of volunteers supporting the ongoing protest cheerfully patted down everyone. Inside the packed square, anti-Mubarak signs sprawled over the crowd, and people sang and set up creative displays to illustrate their political demands.

On one end of the square, men held up urinals. The white ceramic read: “Contribute to the National Democratic Party,” the party of the president.

On the other end, teenage boys took turns lying as if dead next to rocks that spelled, “In honor of the Tahrir dead,” referring to the hundreds of protesters estimated to have been killed in clashes during the uprising.

Activists said the rocks were hurled into the square during battles between demonstrators and a wave of Mubarak supporters that swept through on Wednesday. The fights left about 11 dead and hundreds - if not thousands - injured. Protesters say the Mubarak supporters were hired thugs, not genuine activists.

On the edges or the square, tanks, covered with anti-Mubarak graffiti were parked, as soldiers casually watched the milling mob. Dozens of protesters crowded in the shadow of the tanks, having slept there for days in order to prevent the army from continuing to inch into the square.

“They are staying for the tanks not to go closer, to not decrease the parameter, to not decrease the revolution,” said Mohammad Saigh, 23, a fifth-year medical student volunteering at one of the many makeshift medical clinics scattered throughout Tahrir Square.

Like other activists, Mr. Saigh said, they do not fear a direct attack from the army. “We don’t expect [the soldiers] to shoot. Many officers said, ‘We will not shoot a single bullet because I’m not going to hell for orders.’ “

c This article is based in part on wire service reports.