Pro-Mubarak hooligans maintain their attacks on protesters

Ekram Ibrahim , Monday 15 Aug 2011

The day's disappointing events makes some protesters look to return to Tahrir Square

mubarak trial
Mubarak opponents hold a banner asking for Mubarak's death at the police academy where Mubarak trail takes place. Photo: Mai Shaheen

“The Mubarak trial will no longer be televised,” announced Judge Ahmed Refaat, at the end of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s second appearance in the cage at the Police Academy, New Cairo.

“Okay. Then the Ramadan soap opera is over. They wanted to shut us up for a while then continue with their agenda,” said Mohamed Abdu, an anti Mubarak protester, after watching the judge announcing this on the large screen outside the Police Academy acting as a courthouse for the trial of the ousted president; his two sons; Habib El-Adly, the former minister of interior and businessman Hussein Salem, who is under house arrest in Spain and being tried in absentia.

The area outside the court was divided in two: one side for Mubarak supporters and the other with protesters who wish to see him tried. Security forces stand in between the two rival groups, with everyone watching the trial on that screen.

However, when the judge had adjourned the trial for the day, there were only anti-Mubarak protesters standing outside. The Mubarak supporters had left by bus one hour before the day’s session ended.

Before they left, violent clashes between the two sides left 23 people injured, according to the Health Ministry. Between the rival camps, there had been around 200 people outside the courthouse.

The scene for the fight was set early when the rival sides gathered before the trial started.

Anti-Mubarak protesters chanted at the defendant’s supporters: “Those are the thieves.” As was the case during the first session of Mubarak’s trial on 3 August, both sides collected rocks in preparation for what was to come.

The first rock was thrown from the pro-Mubarak camp and the battle commenced. In this open area without walls to run behind, rocks were hurled and everyone ran.

The security forces took the side of Mubarak supporters and started chasing the other side, with clashes moving from outside the Police Academy to an adjacent street, blocking traffic for around half an hour.

“The security forces are the same, they left the Mubarak supporters and are attacking us,” one anti-Mubarak protester told Ahram Online. After things calmed down between the two sides, protesters chanted:  “The Ministry of Interior men are thugs.”

The judge’s decision to stop live broadcast of the trial was well received by Mubarak’s supporters. “If the revolutionaries are demanding democracy, then Mubarak’s approval to go to trial is the sign of the democracy of Egypt,” one Mubarak supporter, an Azhar Sheikh at the Ministry of Endowments, told Ahram Online.

“This revolution is a foreign made product against Egypt,” he said before adding that he was paid better during under Mubarak, who had intended to bring through a generation of Azhar Sheikhs for the good of Egypt.

The majority of Mubarak supporters were wearing white T-shirts emblazoned with “I am Egyptian, I refuse the humiliation of the leader of the nation.”

The judge has approved the request by the lawyers of victims to merge Mubarak’s case to that of El-Adly’s. He has also postponed the case to 5 September.

Mubarak’s first public appearance since he was toppled was at the forst session of his trial where he lay on a stretcher surrounded by his two sons in the cage, a scene that many Egyptians did not expect to see.

After the day’s events, including the judge’s decision, the severe clashes with Mubarak supporters with whom the security forces took sides, some anti-Mubarak protesters chanted, before they left the scene, “We need to go back to Tahrir Square.” 

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