Tuesday was billed as a game-changer, the day of a "Million March" that would swell the crowd in Tahrir Square, along with its spirits, as protesters promised a decisive action that would deliver the message to Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, that no concession aside from his abdication would satisfy Egypt’s widespread unrest.
Final estimates of the size varied widely, but it was probably the largest demonstration modern Cairo has ever seen, and the message from Tahrir echoed clearly from the chants of the enormous crowd: "He's going, we're not going."
Throughout the morning, the Egyptian army fulfilled its promise to protect the civilian populace, providing an outer cordon of security and ushering demonstrators through barbed wire and concrete barriers with little or no resistance.
But it was often ordinary citizens - the protesters themselves - who performed the most stringent security checks, patting down young men, checking ID cards, and ushering away those who seemed to be a threat.
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