This WSJ piece is a crucial document on Egypt:
At 4 p.m., the battles appeared to tip decisively in the protesters’ favor. An order came down from Mr. Mubarak to the Minister of Interior, Habib al-Adly, to use live ammunition to put down the protests, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Mr. al-Adly passed on the order to his top lieutenant, Gen. Ahmed Ramzy—but Mr. Ramzy refused, according to this person.
“It was a poor assessment of what [orders] his generals would take from him,” this person said.
When Mr. Mubarak saw that Mr. Adly wouldn’t get the job done, he gave the order for the army to deploy, this person said. Mr. Adly was furious, according to the person. Mr. Adly then gave a sweeping order to pull all police from the streets, from lowly traffic monitors, to prison guards, to the vast armies of truncheon-wielding riot police that had been a ubiquitous presence around Egypt for decades.