(CAIRO) -- Cairo and other Egyptian cities appeared to be descending into anarchy Sunday as gangs of young men were free to loot and commit arson amid a vanishing police presence.
Egyptian police, especially in Cairo, virtually disappeared from the streets late Friday, leaving a huge vacuum in security that was taken advantage of by looters and vandals.
Across Egypt, buildings were set on fire and clashes continued between anti-government protesters and the police.
Egyptians woke up Sunday with several government buildings still smoldering and thousands of anti-government protesters remaining camped out in the main square.
Law and order broke down completely as gangs of looters and vandals stormed government buildings, stealing electronic equipment and office supplies, breaking precious artifacts in the Egyptian Museum and attempting to rob luxury homes.
Gangs attacked at least four jails across Egypt before dawn, helping free hundreds of Muslim militants and thousands of other inmates as security forces disappeared. Cairo residents boarded up homes and vigilante groups have sprung up, arming themselves with guns and bats to protect their neighborhoods.
Some police forces could be seen returning Monday to Cairo's neighborhoods, where fearful residents remain huddled in their homes.
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