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In the interview, Mr. Ghonim joked, “It looks like I might be kidnapped again after this.”

Though they have not reached their ultimate goal of pushing Mr. Mubarak out, two weeks of protests already have brought the most far-reaching concessions the regime has ever offered. Mr. Mubarak sacked his Cabinet and appointed a new one, including the first vice president he has ever designated. He promised he would not seek re-election later this year, and the government also assured protesters his son Gamal would not run, as many had feared. The leadership of the ruling party was purged.

In addition, the new vice president, Omar Suleiman, offered to embark on a far-reaching set of reforms to include amending the constitution to provide for greater political freedoms and competition in elections for both parliament and the presidency.

However, many protesters are deeply mistrustful of those promises.

Ahmed Hosni, a 38-year-old disabled man, said he lost his leg to an accident in 2003 because when he was moved to a hospital, there was not enough equipment to treat his simple injury and he was left bleeding.

“We cannot leave the square because we don’t trust the regime,” he said. “For 30 years, we have been mistrusting the regime. If we leave, the police will come back.”

Many just do not believe the government will deliver. They have heard similar promises before, but the changes never came to pass.

And they see a basic conundrum in the promises of reform: How can those who created an autocratic system, built on privileges for the few and the repression of many, be responsible for dismantling it?

Within the same week, the government made extraordinary pledges not to harass protesters and to investigate election fraud and official graft while hinting darkly at foreign influence in the protests.

That was a slap to a movement that, by most accounts, is homegrown, even if it drew inspiration from the revolt in Tunisia, another North African Arab nation.

Mr. Suleiman, who has been managing the crisis, is just an extension of the problem for many denizens of Tahrir Square. They see the former intelligence chief and army general as an incarnation of his boss.

In this shifting landscape, it is hard for protesters to know whether they are winning or losing, whether the concessions amount to a real victory as long as the president of nearly three decades is still in his palace.

“What motivated me, and so many other people, was to make Mubarak go,” said Ahmad Issam, a 31-year-old engineer in a suit and tie who came to protest in Tahrir Square after work. “Then the brainwashing attempts: The rumors, the media, showed that the regime hasn’t changed.”

Associated Press writer Sarah El Deeb contributed to this report.