These were not the same kinds of protesters that have occupied Tahrir for the last few days. These crowds were made up mostly of men, in between 20 and 45 years old. Many wore thick leather jackets with sweaters underneath. They chanted angrily in support of Mubarak and against the pro-democracy movement. They were hostile and intimidating.
They repeatedly cursed Al Jazeera, asking cameramen at the scene if they worked for the Arabic news network. One man drew his finger across his throat to signal his intentions.
By midday their numbers had swelled dramatically and they began pouring into the downtown area heading straight for Tahrir Square. The army, which had encircled Tahrir since Saturday, simply let them in. The pro-democracy protesters inside formed a human chain inside to try and hold the mob at bay. Utilizing their greater numbers, they initially succeeded in pushing them back non-violently and appeared to have them in full retreat. But then, the mob attacked.