CAIRO - Egypt's ruling military and the revolutionaries who demand that it step down battled for a third day in the streets Sunday and competed for the support of a public that has grown tired of turmoil since the fall of Hosni Mubarak 10 months ago.
The generals appear to be winning the fight for the public, despite a heavy-handed crackdown on protesters around Cairo's Tahrir Square using a roughness that rivaled even that of Mubarak's widely hated police force.
A man died in police custody Sunday, and a lawyer said he had been refused medical attention.
The protesters have tried to drum up anger at the military by spreading videos and photos of military police beating young men and women to the ground with sticks and truncheons and the scene of a woman in a conservative head scarf being stripped half naked by soldiers who stomp on her chest.
But their efforts to win public sympathy do not seem to be gaining traction against the military's campaign to depict the crowds in the streets as hooligans and vandals, not the idealistic activists who brought down Mubarak. At least 10 protesters have been killed and 441 wounded in the three days of violence, according to the Health Ministry.
"The military has failed in everything except for its stunning success in making people hate the revolution, its history and its revolutionaries," prominent columnist Ibrahim Eissa wrote in an editorial in the independent pro-revolution newspaper, Al-Tahrir.
Led by a general who served for 20 years as Mubarak's defense minister, the military has methodically sought to discredit the revolutionaries, accusing them of illegally receiving foreign funds and being part of a plot hatched abroad to destabilize Egypt. The generals have sought to portray themselves as key players in the 18-day revolt that toppled Mubarak's 29-year rule, hence having earned the right to rule.
The generals' campaign plays on Egyptians' frustration with continued instability and economic problems since Mubarak's fall. Many are now more focused on the multistage parliamentary elections that began last month and continue through March. Islamist parties have dominated the vote, with liberals and secular parties far behind. That trend continued with the announcement Sunday of results from the second of three rounds of voting, held last week.