What is happening now is a crime against Egypt: ElBaradei

In a nuanced response to the opposition's call for his immediate exit, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has agreed to quit in September this year, but on his own terms which include steering an orderly political transition.

Reinforcing his decision announced late on Tuesday over state television, and letting his detractors within Egypt and abroad know that, apparently, he too commanded significant street power and was not finished yet, Mr. Mubarak had tens of thousands of supporters, on foot, and in cars swarming the banks of the Nile.

They had grouped, shouting slogans and holding banners aloft, within a short distance of the Tahrir Square, where several thousands seeking Mr. Mubarak's immediate departure converged yet again on Wednesday.

By mid-afternoon, the pro-Mubarak crowds noisily headed in the direction of the Tahrir Square, where a tense standoff had begun.

Clash with opposition

By late afternoon some of the demonstrators clashed with the opposition, which charged the regime with unleashing “gangs of thugs” on them with the motive of disrupting peaceful protests. Many in the opposition claimed they had seized police identification cards from some of the pro-Mubarak supporters.

Some also questioned the regime's capacity to mobilise such large numbers overnight.

By evening, it became evident that the two opposing camps were battling for the control of the Tahrir Square, the icon of the anti-Mubarak uprising.

A couple of empty green military trucks, horizontally positioned across the road outside the Egyptian National Museum, on the edge of the square, emerged as the frontline of these clashes

On either side, pro and anti-Mubarak supporters hurled rocks, pulled out from the pavements, at each other, injuring scores. Many were taken away with blood streaming down their faces.

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