However, he said, the Brotherhood stumbled badly in its attempts to explain its stance in a way that didnt burn bridges.
They lack the political imagination to articulate a position that avoids conflict on the street, but shows a presence in the square, Houdaiby said. Theyre portraying themselves as worse than they are.
The Obama administration issued a statement that called for the military council to transfer power to civilian authority "as soon as possible." But the U.S. call timed, White House officials said, to be released at the beginning of the business day in Cairo was hardly noticed in Tahrir.
"The council's staying in power or leaving is our internal issue and business, and America has no right to interfere," said Islam Othman, 29, a tour guide. "We didn't demand for Obama to leave because of the Wall Street protests or the Palestinian situation."
Tahrir Square itself was relatively calm, if surging with political activism. With concrete barricades installed to seal protesters off from the headquarters of the hated Interior Ministry not far away, there was none of the pitched fighting that for the past week had sent clouds of tear gas over the square. The mood was lighter, even as protesters continued their chants of, "the people want the fall of the field marshal," referring to the chief of the military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. Hundreds staged a sit-in outside the Cabinet building, vowing a fight if Tantawis pick for prime minister tried to enter the building.
Our battle now will be between the people in Tahrir Square and those outside of it, with the council on the side, said Waleed Rashed, 28, a founder of the liberal April 6 Youth Movement, as he marched to the square with dozens of young Egyptians who sported casts and eye patches from deadly clashes with security forces earlier this week.
A week of nearly incessant battles between riot police who tried to clear the square and protesters who refused to go left at least 38 of the demonstrators dead and some 2,700 wounded, according to the health ministry. The military council issued a rare apology for the deaths on Thursday, then riled emotions the next day with Ganzouris appointment.
These generals say that Tahrir Square doesnt represent all of Egypts 80 million, Rashed said. That 1 million enough was enough for them to remove Mubarak, but now its not enough for them to take us seriously?
Ganzouris appointment drew many first-time protesters to Tahrir on Friday, including a strong showing of middle- and upper-class families who said theyd initially opposed the latest uprising as disruptive, but were so outraged at returning to even figurehead rule by a onetime Mubarak crony that theyd changed their minds.
Wed rather bring back Ramses II, cracked Hatil, the engineer, taking aim not just at Ganzouris age, but at the entire ossified system that returned him to public office.
At the much smaller pro-military rally in the Cairo district of Abbasiya, news reports said, demonstrators tweaked the most famous revolutionary slogan to take aim at their foes in the square.
The people want the fall of Tahrir, they chanted.
Incensed at news coverage they consider too sympathetic to the protesters, thugs in the crowd roughed up several foreign and Egyptian journalists at the event, according to firsthand accounts posted on Twitter.