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Protesters Return to Tahrir Square

As Cairo's Tahrir Square bulges with a record number of protesters, Channel 4 News understands that pro-Mubarak supporters are turning against their leader.

"Pro-Government

In recent days, the government had appeared to be wresting control of the struggle for power – and numbers in the plaza, which has become the microcosm of the North African country’s revolution, were dwindling.

But on Tuesday, the Square was brimming with hundreds of thousands of anti-Mubarak protesters – and an increasing number are former Government supporters.

"I used to be a member of the National Democratic Party. Now of course I have resigned from this dirty party that people have revolted against. Frankly, our president has had more than enough of his share of time,” said protester Amal Raheel.

And anti-Mubarak sentiment appeared to be creeping from the streets to the mouths public figures, according to the author of the influential Cairo-based blog, Egyptian Chronicles.

"Egypt's famous pop idol Tamer Hosni for instance was speaking about his 'father Mubarak' last week and yesterday he claimed that he was deceived by official media and even made a song about revolution," the blogger told Channel 4 News.

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"A pro-Mubarak journalist and NDPian, Abdullah Kamal of Rosa Al Youssef daily and magazine, who used to write pro-Gamal Mubarak columns, removed all photos of Mubarak from the newspaper building itself.

"And Lamis El-Hadidy, famous TV presenter and economic journalist was known to be a pro-Gamal Mubarak supporter, is now attacking him on air along other businessmen from her friends in the old policies committees of NDP."

Many of the hundreds of thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square have only just arrived, said Channel 4 News International editor, Lindsey Hilsum.

"The protest is absolutely huge, as is the momentum. I could scarecely move and it took half an hour to get out. A lot of the people here are new, they’ve not been involved until now, so the numbers appear to be growing rather than shrinking," she said.

On Monday, the Egyptian Google executive who was jailed 12 days ago was released from prison.

Wael Ghonim said he was kept blindfolded by Egyptian police, with activists saying the local was behind a Facebook group that helped to inspire the protests.

"What happened to me is a crime." Google executive Wael Ghonim

"I am not a symbol or a hero or anything like that, but what happened to me is a crime," he told Egyptian station Dream TV after his release on Monday.

"We have to tear down this system based on not being able to speak out."

In the interview Mr Ghonim, the Internet search giant's head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, wept as he remembered those killed in two weeks of protests.

He admitted having started the Facebook group called "We are all Khaled Said" in memory of an Egyptian man dragged from a cafe and beaten to death by police in June, according to rights activists.

The Facebook site was instrumental in starting the anti-regime protests on January 25 that quickly spread, rocking Mubarak's autocratic regime but also leading to clashes in which around 300 people have so far died, according to United Nations estimates.

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