As I noted earlier, there have been many reports that the looting in Egypt has been carried out by agents provocateur.
There have also been widespread rumors that the looting of the Cairo Museum, and the damage to several mummies, was carried out by government agents.
On Friday, Al Jazeera reported:
Egyptians – some armed with truncheons grabbed off the police – created a human chain at the museum’s front gate to prevent looters from making off with any of the artifacts.
Zahi Hawass, the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the would-be looters only managed to vandalise two mummies, ripping their heads off. They also cleared out the museum gift shop.
Dr. Hawass wrote:
I found out that one criminal was still at the museum, too. When he had asked the people guarding the museum for water, they took his hands and tied him to the door that lead to the gift shop so that he could not escape!
In other words, at least one of the museum looters was captured.
Today, the Sydney Morning Herald reports:
Taking advantage of a fire raging through the nearby headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party, intruders climbed the gates, broke a window and entered the museum to steal the mummies. Demonstrators and security forces stopped the thieves and returned the relics, Zahi Hawass said.
The former presidential candidate Ayman Nour, who is the leader of the Tomorrow Party, said he had seen unequivocal proof that many looters were thugs backed by the regime.
”We have been able to identify these men as members of the Interior Ministry. We have seen their ID cards,” he said.
”They are working to make chaos, to make people afraid of the protesters.”
Mr Nour said it was highly suspicious that the police were suddenly nowhere to be found.
Adding to the chaos was the escape on Saturday of thousands of prisoners from the Wadi Natrun prison north of Cairo. Prison officials said inmates overwhelmed the guards. There were reports some guards abandoned their posts during the protests.