Egypt protests enter day 4 with a rally cry

Updated at 6:32 a.m. Eastern.

CAIRO - Egyptians are converging on Cairo's central Tahrir Square in response to a call for a so-called million-man march as protests against the country's military rulers enter a fourth day.

Thousands of Egyptian protesters have been camping out on the square and clashing with police trying to force them to leave.

They hoisted a giant Egyptian flag and chanted slogans on Tuesday, evidence that an offer of resignation by the civilian Cabinet the day before has failed to quell the spreading unrest.

Egypt's state-TV says three people were killed overnight in the eastern city of Ismailia, raising the overall death toll from the protests to 29.

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CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports that small groups of protesters skirmished Tuesday with police guarding key buildings near Tahrir Square, as thousands of Egyptians from across the political spectrum descended on the plaza, heeding the call for a mass rally.

Behind the front lines, meanwhile, volunteers provided back up - mostly in the form of medical care, including the antidote to tear gas.

Their collective demand, says Palmer, is clear: genuine democratic reform, and fast.

"We need to have a clear cut timetable, we need to have a president by April," protester Nasreen Menisi told CBS News. "We need to have a proper democracy in place and a proper system so that we know where we stand."

Palmer says the violence recalls the vast popular uprising in February which eventually forced Egypt's authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak out of office after decades in power.

In the original uprising, Egyptians in Tahrir Square welcomed the soldiers as heroes as they sided with the people - but not any more.

Cell phone videos posted online show troops - alongside black-clad riot police, who have always been viewed as the defenders of Mubarak's regime - beating demonstrators viciously.

On Monday, military spokesman Gen. Sayed Abbas tried to downplay the soldiers' role in any violence, suggesting some troops may have been "provoked" by protesters hurling stones or Molotov cocktails.

But, Palmer reports, that's not an acceptable excuse to millions of Egyptians who have lost faith in the military which continues to rule their country even after a mass uprising gave birth to what thousands of protesters hoped would be a truly democratic, civilian-run country.

The people in Tahrir Square don't believe the generals' commitment to the democratic elections which are due to start in just a week.

With the civilian cabinet hand-picked by Tantawi and his men offering to step aside, everything, including the election schedule, has been cast into even greater doubt.