Pro-Mubarak protest at mosque ends in violence
Sherif Tarek, Saturday 25 Jun 2011
Pro-Mubarak demonstrators in front of the well-known Moustafa Mahmoud Mosque had a huge brawl with anti-Mubarak groups, causing traffic problems and heavily stepped-up security

Several dozen protesters rallied in front of the Moustafa Mahmoud Mosque in the Cairo middle class district of Mohandessin to voice their support for ousted president Hosni Mubarak, but their protest prompted pandemonium by the end of the day as they clashed with anti-Mubarak people.

The violent brawls resulted in many injuries on both sides as well as varied damage to eight cars in the famous Moustafa Mahmoud Square, where Mubarak loyalists have been occasionally congregating over the past few months.

Pro- and anti-Mubarak demonstrators hurled Molotov cocktails, empty bottles and rocks at each other, creating a warzone and causing a huge traffic problem in the upscale district of Mohandessein in the late hours of Friday.

Central security troops blocked the main thoroughfare, Gamet El-Dewal Street, for pedestrians and cars not to get damaged. Consequently, numerous vehicles had to drive on surrounding streets against traffic.

Police and military forces eventually contained the situation and restored order. Central security troops remain heavily present until Saturday morning, along with fire trucks and ambulances.

Before the violence erupted, tens of protesters constructed a small stage, lifted banners and chanted pro-Mubarak slogans in front of the Moustafa Mahmoud Mosque after Friday’s prayers.

The banners revealed for the first time the intention to form a party that supports the ousted president; one banner read “Mubarak Peace Party: under construction.”

Other banners and chants were conciliatory; citing Mubarak’s dignity, calling him the hero of war and peace and telling him to take no notice of a “minority” who degraded him. Other banners were condemnatory, saying that “Yesterday’s revolutionaries are today’s thugs” and calling for political groups, such as the April 6 Youth Movement and Kefaya to be put on trial.

The protesters also spoke against TV presenters Hala Sarhan, Amr El-Leithy and Reem Maged, calling them hypocrites.

Mubarak, 83, was forced to step down on 11 February after millions protested against him all over ‎Egypt for 18 days. At first citizens started in peaceful demonstrations, and after being attacked by police and hired thugs, it turned into a full-scale uprising.

Once the then-president Mubarak stepped down he remained under house arrest, along with his ‎family members before he and both of his sons, Alaa and ‎Gamal, were remanded in police custody pending investigations.

The latter two were ‎incarcerated in Tora Prison, along with numerous former ministers and high-profile ‎government officials.‎

The vast majority of Egyptians, even those who live abroad, wanted to see ‎Mubarak’s 30-year rule come to an end. No sooner had he been brought down than exuberant celebrations broke out across Egypt and in many other countries.