Relive Egypt's peaceful mass protests against Shafiq bid, Mubarak's verdict

Ahram Online, Tuesday 5 Jun 2012

Eliminated pro-revolution presidential candidates lead marches to Tahrir Square against Mubarak verdict and upcoming runoffs; Morsi set to attend; Ahram Online brings you live coverage blow-by-blow

Egyptian protesters fill Tahrir Square,Tuesday (AP)

That's all from tonight's live updates, but stay tuned for a wrap-up story on the day's protests.

21:20  After participating in today's mass protest, a group of 40-something men sit in a cafe in Mohamed Mahmoud Street, just off Tahrir Square. Smoking shisha, one of them says to the rest:

"Listen up everyone; the problem is that the ruling military council truly believes the Egyptian people are an ignorant bunch. I hope history will prove them wrong."

21:10 Thousands of protesters have also demonstrated in several governorates today, including Alexandria, Minya, Gharbiya and Ismailiya, to echo the same demands.

20:38 Hundreds of thousands of protesters are now assembled in Tahrir Square. Hundreds of Ahly football club supporters, known as the Ultras Ahlawy 07, are protesting in Mohamed Mahmoud Street, chanting their usual slogans against the police, in addition to some directed against presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq. In cafes surrounding Tahrir Square, citizens talk about politics, wondering what the fate of the presidential elections and the next move from the Muslim Brotherhood and the SCAF will be.

20:15 Mostafa Ali, Ahram Online's man on the spot in Tahrir Square, says that the Brotherhood's presence is being strongly felt. However, he stressed that all protesters are chanting political slogans together, mainly against Shafiq.

"The square is quite full now," he said.

20:10 Well-known labour activist and MP Kamal Abu Eita took to the Tahrir Square stage, chanting:

"This is time we're resolved; we won't leave [the country] to anyone."

20:05 The father of Alaa Abdel-Hady, a medical student who was killed in November during violent clashes in downtown Cairo, takes the podium to hit out at the ruling junta.

"I hold the military council responsible for the death of my son."

"We will carry on struggling until we get the martyrs their rights," he added, chanting at the end of his speech: "Down, down with military rule!"

20:00 Eliminated presidential candidate Khaled Ali talks to our reporter Randa Ali in Tahrir Square, saying that all presidential contenders called for the implementation of the Political Disenfranchisement Law before the elections were underway, and not only after the end of the first round.

19:53 Ahmed, a 26-year-old Muslim Brotherhood supporter waiting at Qasr Al-Nil bridge to march with Hamdeen Sabbahi, who is coming from Mustafa Mahmoud Square with a large crowd of protesters, told Ahram Online that he voted for Mohamed Morsi but also likes Sabbahi.

"Although I like Sabbahi, I think he is asking too much in his negotiations with Morsi," Ahmed said, adding that having a presidential council is not a good idea because if Morsi becomes president, he will make decisions on his own, whereas the presidential council will include many members and will fail to agree on decisions easily. 

"The Muslim Brotherhood believes that if there is going to be rigging in the elections in favour of Shafiq. There might be a new revolution underway," Ahmed added, saying that the SCAF should listen to the will of people and disenfranchise Shafiq.

19:49 The Mustafa Mahmoud march enters Tahrir with thousands in tow.

19:48 Mostafa Hussein captures the spirit of today's rally in this tweet:

Not a single person held responsible for the mass killings that took place in Egypt since the Qedeseen church bombing

19:38  The Mustafa Mahmoud march reaches Qasr Al-Nil Bridge, according to Ahram Online's reporter Mostafa Ali.

"Numbers are in thousands; young people demand the departure of Shafiq much as they did for Mubarak. There are plenty of Egyptian flags. Protesters in general are very spirited."

19:34 Approximately hundreds of Brotherhood supporters enter the Tahrir Square, unfurling premade banners that read "The homeland is in danger" and "No to the Felul."

Randa Ali manages to speaks to well-known activist Alaa Abdel-Fatah, who is also in the Mustafa Mahmoud march, about ongoing presidential elections:

"I hope the Political Disenfranchisement Law is implemented. If the runoffs roll around and nothing has happened and there isn't enough street pressure to abort elections, I'll boycott the polling process."     

The march is now in Galaa Square, closer to its destination, Tahrir.

19:20 Activist Ahmed Harara speaks to our reporter Randa Ali as the Mustafa Mahmoud march nears Tahrir:

"The prospect of having a presidential council is very possible, even if Morsi is not a part of it," he says. "It's about principles and not individuals."

On liberal opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei, Harara states: "He has always supported the idea of the presidential council before, and I think he do so today as well."

19:08 In the Mustafa Mahmoud march, businessman Ramy Lakah, one of the co-founders of the Development and Reform Party, tells reporter Randa Ali, "I'm boycotting the elections. Our focus should be the Political Disenfranchisement Law and not the possibility of a presidential council."  

Elsewhere, a mass march with Khalid Ali at the vanguard heads to Tahrir Square coming from Al-Fatah mosque in Ramses.

Ali, hoisted aloft by ecstatic supporters, issues demands for laws guaranteeing basic civil rights and tougher penalties on former regime figures.

"One, two, where are the revolution's aims," protesters chanted. "We say to those living in palaces, 'give us a living wage'."

18:55 Ultras Ahlawy make their entrance into Tahrir Square chanting "Freedom" and "This is time we're resolve; we won't leave [the country] to anyone."

18:54 Back in Tahrir Square, there are signs calling for the dismissal of Egypt's prosecutor-general, Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud, as well as others decrying attempts by the former regime to return to public and political life. 

Mahmoud Fathi, a protester in his 60s, tells Ahram Online that the Political Disenfranchisement Law should be applied to prevent Ahmed Shafiq from entering the runoffs.

"It is unacceptable after a revolution that has brought its share of martyrs to vote Shafiq into office." 

Sahar Saleh, a young pharmacist, says that she is attending because public pressure is important. "Political forces should take a revolutionary stand in order to prevent a repeat of last year's scenarios."

18:47 Our reporter in the Mustafa Mahmoud march, Randa Ali, confirms that eliminated presidential candidates, Abul-Fotouh and Sabbahi, have just left the march, apparently due to exhaustion.

18:45 Several thousand members of Ultras Ahlawy – Ahly football club's hardcore fan group – gather on Qasr Al-Nile Bridge and are now heading towards nearby Tahrir. According to Ahram Online's man on the ground, Mostafa Ali, the Ultras supporters are waving Ultras and Egyptian flags while chanting "Shafiq, you shameful man, the revolution continues."

18:41 Here's a taste of Twitter form participants in today's mass rally:

Sharif Kouddous tweets: Protesters climbing up to giant billboard of Shafik to try and tear it down. Crowd cheers

Dirk Wanrooij tweets: They are hitching a ride.

Mostafa Hussein tweets: Well obviously the protesters couldn't handle smugface looking at them and started the usual billboard tearing down process.

18:33 Sabbahi and Abul-Fotouh continue to lead the Mustafa Mahmoud march from the bed of a pick-up truck packed with amplifiers. In a moving display of unity, the two eliminated candidates – surrounded by adoring supporters waving Egyptian flags – hold hands and smile broadly.

"We are united against Shafiq and the verdict (referring to the sentences slapped on Mubarak and his associates)," protesters repeated after the two politicians.

18:20  Sara Mourad, reporting from Tahrir Square for Ahram Online, describes the atmospherein the flashpoint square:

"Several thousands are present; many came with their families. As a result, there are children everywhere. A little girl even climbed onto a stage and began chanted against Shafiq. The general mood is energetic and relaxed. At another end of the square, I can here protesters changing 'One hand in the square' and 'Freedom is coming."

18:12 Egyptian Social Democratic Party MP Ziad El-Eleimi and MP Essam Sultan of Al-Wasat Party are leading protests in Tahrir Square. They too are being carried on the shoulders of protesters.

In the posher side of town, Zamalek, members of Ultras Ahlawy 07 begin to gather at the Ahly Club before they begin what will certainly be a drum-laden and spirited march to Tahrir.

17:58 Just moments ago, Abul-Fotouh joined the Mustafa Mahmoud march. He is now walking side by side with Sabbahi.

17:54:  "Carried on the shoulders of protester, Sabbahi is leading the march that set off from Mustafa Mahmoud while chants are being led by a young man standing in the bed of a pick-up truck," Ahram Online correspondent Randa Ali reports. "Abul-Fotouh isn't here yet, but his campaigners keep insisting he will join the march shortly."

She adds, "Protesters are chanting 'Let's go down to [Tahrir] Square'; 'One hand like before'; and 'Down, down with felul [remnants of the former regime].

"The marchers are also calling on bystanders to join the protest."

The march has reached Al-Batal Ahmed Abdel-Aziz Street. Just moments before, marchers catch sight of a pro-Shafiq poster on an overhead balcony and air their collective disapproval. I can't imagine I'd be too pleased if thousands targeted me with one massive 'boo'.

17:52 Hundreds march along the major thoroughfares of Zagazig in the Delta governorate of Sharqiya in solidarity with today's Tahrir rally.  The April 6 Youth Movement took part in coordinating the march.

17:44 Tahrir's growing crowd greets Brotherhood leader Mohamed El-Beltagy as he makes his way into Tahrir Square, carried on the shoulders of his supporters.

In the neighbouring Talaat Harb Square, tens of women demonstrators kick off their march to the flashpoint square.

17:41 Several thousand protesters protest at Al-Fatah mosque in Ramses Square in preparation of their march to Tahrir. Eliminated presidential candidate Khalid Ali is leading the protest. Members of April 6 Youth Movement are present, holding aloft their trademark black flag emblazoned with a white fist.

17:28 About 4,000 people begin to move from Mustafa Mahmoud Square with Sabbahi in their midst. The marchers are calling for the execution of former regime figures and a new revolution.

17:23 Activist Ahmed Harara, who lost both of his eyes after being shot while protesting on two different occasions since the start of the January 25 Revolution, arrives and is warmly greeted by protesters, according to Ahram Online correspondent Randa Ali.

Eliminated presidential candidate Abul-Fotouh is expected to appear at Mustafa Mahmoud Square. The Revolutionary Socialists and the April 6 Youth Movement are among the participating political forces.

17:15 Hundreds are rallying in front of the Mustafa Mahmoud Square in Cairo's Mohandiseen district, preparing to march on Tahrir Square. The gathered crowd is chanting "Bread, freedom and social equality."

Protesters greeted eliminated presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi with "Here is the president."

Numbers at the iconic protest starting-ground have already reached upwards of three thousand.

Preparations for Tuesday's million-man march have begun with large numbers descending on Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Several marches are expected to converge in the epicenter of last year's uprising, as thousands of demonstrators are expected to turn out soon in other Egyptian cities.

The revolutionary masses are protesting the verdict in the trial of ex-president Mubarak and his senior associates, as well as the candidacy of Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s last premier, in the presidential election runoff.

Eliminated presidential candidates Abdel Moneim Aboul-Fotouh, Khaled Ali and Hamdeen Sabbahi will each lead a march to Tahrir Square as part of the nationwide protests scheduled for Tuesday.

The demonstrations were called for by revolutionary groups to protest against the verdict in the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak and his senior associates as well as the candidacy of Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s last premier, in the presidential election runoff.

Leftist candidate Ali will lead the first march from the Fatah Mosque in the Ramses district in central Cairo and will head to the High Court to demand the resignation of the prosecutor-general and reform of the judiciary branch. Ali's march plan to protest in front of the High Court for an hour before heading off to Tahrir Square.

The second Cairo march will begin at the Istikama Mosque in Giza Square and converge on Tahrir Square.

Islamist Aboul-Fotouh and Nasserist Sabbahi will head from Mustafa Mahmoud Square in the Mohandessin district of Cairo to Tahrir Square.

All three marches will begin simultaneously at 5pm.

Other marches are also expected to take place in Cairo at 5pm, from Hegaz Square in Heliopolis, Rabaa El-Adaweya Mosque in Nasr City (both in northeast Cairo) and another from Shubra Square, near the centre. The football fans, Ultras White Knights, have also announced that they will begin a march from in front of the Ahly Club to Tahrir Square.

In Alexandria, a march will begin from the El-Kaed Ibrahim Mosque to the military zone. In the Upper Egyptian governorate of Qena, a march will begin from the El-Saa Square. Marches will begin from the Nour Mosque in Mansoura, El-Abbasy Mosque in the pivotal Suez city of Port Said and from the governorate’s headquarters in Zagazig.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood's official twitter account admin @IkhwanWeb confirmed to Ahram Online that Mohamed Morsi, the candidate for the presidential elections set for 16/17 June, will attend Tuesday's mass protest at Tahrir square.

Protests broke out immediately after the pronouncement of the verdict against Hosni Mubarak, his former interior minister Habib El-Adly, six aides and Mubarak's sons, Gamal and Alaa Mubarak.

Hosni Mubarak and El-Adly were each given one life sentence each in jail – many protesters decry that the two got off too easy – while all other defendants were found not guilty of their alleged crimes.

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