Egypt state television, which largely ignored anti-government protests for the first days they erupted, reported on Wednesday that dozens of supporters of the president gathered in Cairo after a speech by the president.
Images showed one banner reading "Yes to Mubarak". It said they were heading to Tahrir Square in central Cairo, where hundreds of thousands of Egyptians demanded President Hosni Mubarak leave office.
In a separate area of Cairo, a Reuters witness reported a modest pro-Mubarak march chanting: "With our souls and blood, we sacrifice to you, Mubarak."
These pro-government marches are an unusual development given that in the past eight days of protests, there has been almost no sign of any counter-demonstration in support of the president.
State television coverage of the demonstrations has flip-flopped from almost totally ignoring them in the first days, to extensive coverage since Friday's mass "Day of Wrath".
In the early hours of Wednesday, it focused on the small numbers of pro-government protesters, using tight angled shots that made it hard to judge numbers. But they seemed to number no more than hundreds.
Small scuffles broke out between protesters and people with knives and other weapons who appeared to infiltrate the crowds in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria immediately after Mubarak finished speaking, witnesses said.
They said shots were fired in the air to break up the scuffles.
Witnesses reported similar unrest in the cities of Suez, Ismialia and Port Said, all on the Suez Canal east of Cairo, but no shots were reported to be heard in those incidents.
The cause of the skirmishes was not immediately clear.
Last Mod: 02 Şubat 2011, 11:00