Activists urged Egyptians to turn out for a big protest on Tuesday to reclaim a revolt they say has been hijacked after Hosni Mubarak was jailed for life but top security officials freed in a trial seen as a sign his old guard remain in charge.
Although Mubarak was imprisoned on Saturday over the killing of protesters, he escaped the death penalty and senior officers tried with him were acquitted for lack of evidence so many now believe the ex-president could win with an appeal.
The calls to hit the streets, almost 16 months after Mubarak was toppled, have also been fuelled by a looming June 16-17 presidential run-off vote between Mubarak's last prime minister and a conservative Islamist, a choice that has polarised Egypt.
Many Egyptians who voted for centrist candidates in last month's first round now face a wrenching choice between Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, which already controls parliament, and Ahmed Shafiq, an ex-military man like Mubarak.
"No to Mursi, no to Shafiq, the revolution is half way through," read a placard held up by one youth in Cairo's Tahrir Square, calling for a boycott of the vote. Hundreds were already in the square on Tuesday morning.
The vote is the final step before the army which took charge when Mubarak was driven out formally hands over to a new president by July 1, formally ending a transition marred by protests, political bickering and sometimes bloodshed.
But divisions on the street have become more pronounced in the final countdown.
While thousands demonstrated in Tahrir late on Monday, some wanted a boycott of the vote and others argued with Islamists over whether or not to back Mursi.
The April 6 movement and liberal or centrist parties or groups, in their demands for Tuesday's rally, said they wanted the presidential vote put on hold till a law is passed to block Shafiq, a senior member of Mubarak's government, from running.
The Muslim Brotherhood, with a chance to secure Egypt's top job after decades of repression by Mubarak, said it would join the protest but has not called for any election delay.
Instead, its demands focus on a retrial for those it accuses of killing protesters, a trial for Shafiq who was appointed premier while anti-Mubarak demonstrations were still going on, and a rejection of any bid to "reproduce the previous regime."