Around 200 supporters of ousted president Hosni Mubarak rallied in Maspero Wednesday, near the state television building, to celebrate his birthday and call for his exoneration from trial. A smaller group in the same location chanted against him.
Mubarak’s 83rd birthday was probably his worst ever as he is held in detention at Sharm El-Sheikh International Hospital facing accusations of ordering the killing of peaceful protesters, accumulating illegal profits, and abusing his unfettered political power in numerous ways for years.
Fan pages on Facebook invited his followers to stage a million man march Friday in Maspero, while some followers decided to congregate on his birthday to lift his spirits.
The rally was peaceful; pro-Mubarak supporters gathered on the sidewalk next to the Nile River surrounding a large photo of the overthrown head of state.
Next to Mubarak on the picture, hung between two trees, read the word "No" in Arabic, expressing his supporters’ refusal of his arrest and imminent trial. Small papers held by his devotees read: “I am a genuine Egyptian and I am here to return the favour,” among other pro-Mubarak slogans.
On the middle pavement stood a smaller group of anti-Mubarak forces, who chanted slogans against the toppled president and made fun of their opposition. There were no signs of hostility from either side, however. The anti-Mubaraks kept shouting “A thief, a thief!” referring to accusations of illicit profiteering.
Mubarak was forced to step down 11 February after millions protested against him across the country for 18 days of a full-scale uprising.
Mubarak remained under house arrest along with his family for some time after his overthrow, before he and both of his sons, Alaa and Gamal, were remanded in police custody pending investigation. His two sons were incarcerated in Tora Prison along with numerous former ministers and high-profile government officials.