The sight of protesters pouring into Cairo’s downtown Tahrir Square for a fifth day indicated Mr. Mubarak’s words in a televised speech shortly after midnight had done little to cool the anger over Egypt’s crushing poverty, unemployment and corruption.

Hundreds of anti-government protesters returned on Saturday to the streets of central Cairo, chanting slogans against Hosni Mubarak just hours after the Egyptian president fired his Cabinet and promised reforms but refused to step down.

The sight of protesters pouring into Cairo’s downtown Tahrir Square for a fifth day indicated Mr. Mubarak’s words in a televised speech shortly after midnight had done little to cool the anger over Egypt’s crushing poverty, unemployment and corruption.

Over five days of protests - the largest Egypt has experienced in decades - protesters have overwhelmed police forces in Cairo and other cities around the nation with their numbers and in attacks with rocks and firebombs.

Overnight, the government called in military forces and by morning the army had replaced police in guarding government buildings and other key areas.

Several tanks were parked in the vast Tahrir Square, but soldiers did not intervene in Saturday’s protest there. Not far from the square, the army sealed off the road leading to the parliament and Cabinet buildings.

Along the Nile, smoke was still billowing from the ruling party’s headquarters, which protesters set ablaze during Friday’s unrest, the most dramatic day of protests since the unrest began on Tuesday.

Mobile phone services were restored

Also on Saturday, mobile phone services were restored after a government-ordered communications blackout aimed at stopping Friday’s protests. Protesters have used text messaging and social networking websites to coordinate demonstrations.

Vodafone and Mobinil cell phone services were working on Saturday morning, about 24 hours after they were cut. Internet service appeared to remain down.

Vodafone said on Friday that the Egyptian government had ordered all mobile telephone operators to suspend services “in selected areas” of the country. Britain-based Vodafone Group PLC is one of the largest mobile phone operators in Egypt, with more than 25-million subscribers.

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