Britons arriving home from Cairo have given vivid first-hand accounts of the escalating chaos gripping the Egyptian capital as the uprising continues to cause bloodshed.
Some of the 161 passengers who arrived at Gatwick Airport in West Sussex on a Foreign Office-chartered Boeing 757 told of their relief at escaping the riot-hit city.
Thousands of opponents and supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have been involved in bloody clashes amid anger at his refusal to surrender his 30-year rule.
The Britons arrived on Flight AEU764 at Gatwick following a five-hour journey which was delayed as violence still raged between pro and anti-government factions.
Among those returning home was 16-year-old Shukria Ahmed-Nur who told how marauding thugs terrorised the streets near where she lived with her family.
She said: "There were men with samurai swords, machetes and other weapons. They were outside our apartments, walking up and down the stairs, which was really scary. I was frightened because it was just me and my two brothers. We were just hoping we would get out alive. I feel ecstatic to be here."
Mother-of-two Jala Ibrahim, 33, from Fulham, west London, arrived home with her two daughters aged five and nine, but had to leave behind her Egyptian husband, 47-year-old Osama.
She said: "The country is in a really bad state at the moment. It's a bit like a war zone but the people are fighting for their rights. They want to lead a dignified life and I want to take this opportunity to ask the international community to support that. They have the right to choose their ruler. They just want to live free like all of us. I think they can only move forward because it can't get any worse.
"I have seen the people coming together and it's amazing. Everybody is standing behind their cause."
But she described the £300 she had to pay to board the Government-chartered flight as "ridiculous" and said all they received was a snack bag.