At the gate of Mubarak's hospital

Salma El-Wardani , Wednesday 13 Apr 2011

The mood outside Hosni Mubarak's Sharm El-Sheikh hospital is mixed as a desire to see him lead off in handcuffs is undercut by a fear that protests could wipe out the tourist economy

Dozens of people tonight stand outside Sharm El-Sheikh International Hospital protesting against Hosni Mubarak's presence in the town. Workers in the tourism sector complain that while he remains in the area, their livelihoods will suffer.

Earlier today, verbal clashes erupted between those wanting to see Mubarak leave in disgrace and others concerned that protests in the tourist enclave will deter people from visiting, harming an already struggling industry.

Eyewitnesses told Ahram Online that dozens of protesters who tried to start a sit-in by the hospital were beaten and scared off by angry Bedouins who were also hostile to the sight of journalists and cameras.

"I won't leave before I see him handcuffed," said Essam Qassem, 28. "My best friend was martyred on 28 January by the bullets of his soldiers, I want him to see that day with us now."

For others outside the hospital, the issue of seeing justice done is overshadowed by that of making ends meet. "We want our jobs back," said Mohamed Abdel Alim outside the hospital. "Protests are halting tourism, a scene like that would scare away tourists who want security."

Emad Saleeba, 29, who owns a bazaar in Naama Bay, takes a more philosophical approach to the disruption. "Ups and downs are normal in our industry, but a moment like this will never come again. We should be able to sacrifice a bit and pay the price of our freedom, and democracy and justice will God willing revive our economy for a better future."

Eleven police cars form a cordon around the hospital with some 100 Central Security agents manning the entrance.

Ahram Online couldn't gain access into the hospital to confirm whether or not the former president is still there amid rumours that he was transferred to a military hospital in Cairo to face further questioning.

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