Protests erupt across Egypt on Saturday after surprise Mubarak verdict
Ahram Online, Saturday 2 Jun 2012
Demonstrators hit streets to protest Saturday ruling which saw Mubarak and El-Adly sentenced to jail for life while sons, police chiefs were acquitted. Ahram Online's blow-by-blow account of the day's tense moments

22:30 Nationwide Egyptians are still in the streets: reports are coming in of a huge march in Sinai on 23 July street and sit-ins in Al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque in Alexandria, meanwhile thousands are still occupying Tahrir Square. As of yet no official sit-in has been called but numbers are not waning. And so, this live update team bids you good night, we are signing off – follow Ahram Online's coverage of events as they continue to develop.

22:22 As the night descends, many still remain in Tahrir Square. Protesters say the situation is unlikely to escalate or turn violent as there are so many key political figures like presidential candidates in the area.

Muslim Brotherhood member Yomna Masaad, a high school student from Taggamu El-Khamis, who has been protesting on the square since the verdict, talks to Ahram Online reporters Yassin Gaber and Michael Gunn. Masaad is holding a poster saying "No to those who drowned Egypt in crises/ you say you can restore security in 24 hours, Shafiq be honest."

"The judiciary is not just - we demand the execution of Mubarak. Why were the six police chiefs are acquitted? Even Mubarak's sons Gamal and Alaa got off scot-free despite selling off acres of land at fire sale prices. People have criticized the Muslim Brotherhood saying we are not on the square even though there are a number of us here. The Brotherhood only made the decision to join in the late afternoon. In addition, many are busy campaigning for Mohamed Morsi and we don't want to stop all the campaigners from working and send them to the square. One of Morsi's campaign from Helwan were sitting with Masaa and explained that she had left the campaign to be on the square. Masaad and her group undecided about staying. "If there are calls for a sit-in then we will take part – the Brotherhood was in the square in the 18 days and if anyone says to the contrary they are lying."

20:00 It seems the demonstrations have gone international, Egyptians are protesting in front of the Egyptian embassy in Canada in solidarity with the Tahrir Square protests.

21:45 Following Hamdeen Sabbahi's dramatic exit via ambulance, eliminated presidential contender Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh has also reportedly fainted on Tahrir Square.

21:40 Eliminated presidential candidate Khaled Ali calls for solidarity between revolutionary groups on hisFacebook page: "We must not repeat the mistakes of the past, time is running out. Let's act now and immediately form a presidential council to save the revolution."

21:30 Back on Tahrir, Ahram Online reporters Yassin Gaber and Michael Gunn are speaking to Revolutionary Socialist leader Hesham Fouad:

"The ruling military council seems to think that the revolution is over and consequently the people will not respond to such a verdict, like the acquittal of Mubarak's sons. The SCAF assumes that because of the elections and the low turnout yesterday that the revolution is dead. However the regime has not fallen, it is still operating in every organ of the state - that is why we are here today, because the people demand the end of the military regime and the fall of Hosni Mubarak and this not been realised.

"I am standing by Mohamed Morsi, strategically in the presidential elections. We believe if numbers continue to flow into Egypt's squares and streets this will make it harder for Shafiq to get into government and there is a possibility that the Disenfranchisement Law will be enacted, eliminating Shafiq from the elections."

The Revolutionary Socialists are distributing leaflets entitled "Retribution is in the hands of the people," in Tahrir Square calling for protests and sit-ins across all of Egypt's squares. Also in the list of demands are revolutionary trials for all of the members of Mubarak's regime and for the judiciary to be purged. In addition they are suggesting a unified revolutionary coalition be set up in order to confront the counter-revolution.

21:20 Security forces are noticeably absent around the Ministry of Interior headquarters, located near to Tahrir Square, Ahram Online reporter says. Usually there are several APCs and Central Security Forces vehicles and personnel stationed around the government building.

21:19 Today's criminal court's verdict in the Mubarak trial is the first step to dealing with the ousted regime's officials, the eliminated presidential candidate Amr Moussa said according to Al-Ahram Arabic. Moussa added on his Twitter account that law and justice should be implemented in Egypt and this verdict incited rage of protesters and so is not the end.

"Martyrs and Egyptians' rights will not be missed," Moussa added on the social media platform.

21:15 Leaving Cairo temporarily, hundreds marched in the streets of Ismailia, located in the north-eastern part of the country, to the city's judicial court complex as soon as the Mubarak trial ended. Hundreds of protestors, gathering in Al-Mammar Square, held signs and chanted against judge Ahmed Refaat, demanding revolutionary trials to guarantee the rights of the uprising's martyrs

Meanwhile in Upper Egypt governorate of Assiut thousands of protesters hit the streets, reports Al-Ahram, chanting "the military council manipulated the uprising."

21:10 The Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate Mohamed Morsi has finally arrived on Tahrir, reports New York Times journalist Liam Stack in this tweet:

"Morsi's car arrives and is thronged w supporters. Some scream "mr president!" Chant: "qowa! 3azeema! Eman! Sawra lissa fil midan!" ‪#tahrir"

21:00 On Mohamed Mahmoud street, the scene of November's and February's clashes between protesters and police, Ahram Online reporter speaks to civil servant Rasaat Hussein, the father of 17 year old high school student, Eslam Rasaat, who was killed on 28 January near the diplomatic vehicle which ran over protesters. Hussein, who always carries a framed picture of Eslam and the image of the van, explained that his son was actually part of the Mubarak case.

"I came down because he can't believe that Habib El-Adly's six aides were acquitted - we are an Islamic nation that believes in justice, and this is not justice. I'm here to protest the lack of independence in the judiciary. I have sought justice for over a year and a half now and yet I have never once been invited to attend any of the Mubarak hearings even though my son is one of the victims included in the file. I’m voting for the Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi because Shafiq will just be another Mubarak."

20:58 Mohammed Yahia, editor of Nature Middle East, says in a tweet that a march from Rabaa mosque in Nasr City, over 10 miles from Tahrir, has just entered the square:

"Entering a completely packed #Tahrir after four hours of marching and ppl are reenergized again"

At the same time a Zamalek White Knights football fan march has also arrived in the flashpoint square from 6 October Bridge, shooting flares and fireworks as well as carrying a banner reading "I'm Egyptian, I'm free."

20:50 Meanwhile Hamdeen Sabbahi left Tahrir square in an ambulance, after the former presidential candidate fainted for the second time today due to exhaustion, says Al-Ahram Arabic. He too suffers from having one too many fans.

20:40 Eliminated presidential candidate Khaled Ali spoke to Ahram Online reporter Yassin Gaber, as he left Tahrir Square mobbed by dozens of his supporters.

"There is no reaction today but to build a national coalition to lead the future of the revolution – the court decision is a kiss of life for the uprising. It will help unify Egypt's revolutionary forces."

20:35 The Ministry of Health announces that 39 have been injured in Tahrir and in front the Supreme Court building during today's protests. Only four of them were hospitalized while the others were treated on the spot by paramedics.

The Humanitarian Relief Committee of the Egyptian Doctors Syndicate decided on Saturday to set up a field hospital on Tahrir Square in the area between the American University in Cairo and Mugamma. The syndicate also issued a statement asking volunteering doctors to head to the hospital.

20:25 Ibrahim Tamima, the coordinator of the April 6 Youth Movement in Cairo's Shubra district, told Ahram Online reporter that they are undecided about whether the movement will stage a sit-in on Tahrir Square this evening.

"It is clear that the military council wants the old regime to remain in power," he added.


The Ultras, hardcore football fans, are going wild at the entrance to Mohamed Mahmoud entrance, with flares, lasers, drums and chants, there is lots of energy, says Ahram Online reporter.

20:15 Renowned activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, who was summoned together with his sister Mona Seif before the public prosecution today for alledgely burning Shafiq's campaign headquarters, said this via Twitter:

"The call for a civil disobedience and a general strike is very important, but we first need to let the street keeps boiling for several days."

20:10 Damanhour, the Nile Delta city capital of the Behira governorate, saw around 2,500 protesters from the Muslim Brotherhood and Ahly Ultras football fans stage a protest near El-Saa Square. They chanted "One hand," calling for national unity and demanded retribution against those responsible for the killing of protesters during last year's January uprising.

20:05 A leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, Mohamed El-Beltagy and Ossama Yassin, another Brotherhood MP and member of the Parliament's Youth Committee, have arrived to the mass protest in Tahrir Square. El-Beltagy addresses the crowd.

20:00 As the sun sets on Tahrir Square, the protest continues to grow in numbers, Ahram Online reporter Osman El-Sharnoubi reports:

"Protesters perform dusk prayers around the square in a scene reminiscent of the 18-day sit-in that led to the ouster of Mubarak in 2011. Much anti-Shafiq is sentiment around as groups periodically chant against him.
Hassan Salah El-Din, a protester and Muslim Brotherhood member expresses fear that if Shafiq becomes President, Mubarak and El-Adly will be acquitted. Loud chants of "the people demand the downfall of the regime can be heard whilst demonstrators hold placards calling for qassas, retribution."


19:50 The Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi, said in an impromptu press conference, that he fully supports the revolutionaries and asked the people to continue pushing for change. The Islamist contender ruled out the possibility that the presidential elections will be postponed, saying they must take place as the revolution is still ongoing.

Morsi reiterated that, should he win, he would form a team consisting of different authorities to gather compelling evidence against those responsible for the killing of the "martyrs."

During the conference, Morsi also implied that presidential candidate and former regime figure Ahmed Shafiq had a hand in concealing the evidence that would have convicted the killers of protesters in last year's uprising. He said that the evidence was tampered with on 2 February, 2011 - a time when Shafiq was Mubarak's prime minister.

19:45 In the Nile Delta city of Damietta, a few hundred Muslim Brotherhood youth have gathered in Al-Horreya Square after the Islamist group announced Saturday that it would be participating in the nationwide protests that erupted following the Mubarak trial verdict.

19:35 A march of Ultras (hardcore football fans), including Zamalek's White Knights, has entered the square from Qasr Al-Nile Bridge, carrying flags with 74 printed on them, the number of Ahly's fans who were killed during February's infamous Port Said disaster. Many blame the lack of police intervention in post-match clashes between Port Said and Ahly fans, for the high numbers of deaths.

19:23 Protests have also erupted in Mubarak's birthplace, the Menoufia governorate, where demonstrators have headed to Sharaf Square, in the coastal city Shebeen El-Koom. Members of April 6 Youth Movement, the Revolution Youth Coalition, and Taggamu Party joined the demonstrations against Saturday's verdict which headed mainly to the Diwan building, chanting "Down with military rule... where are you revolution?"

19:17 A 1000s-strong march led by the mother of Mohamed Gamal Selim, one of the martyrs of 28 January, 2011 - aka the Friday of Rage - is sweeping through Mansoura, thecapital of the Dakahlia governorate. Protesters are demanding a "purge" the judiciary and that those responsible for the deaths of the martyrs be bought to justice.

19:04 It is not just the presidential hopefuls who are causing a ruckus in Tahrir: prominent Egyptian cleric Safwat Hegazi stunned protesters when he raised aloft his shoe – a gesture to insult presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq. The crowds burst into applause and cheered in approval.

19:02 Former leftist presidential hopefuls Hamdeen Sabbahi and Khalid Ali receive a hero's welcome, as they are carried through the flashpoint square on protesters' shoulders. ##

19:00 Back in Tahrir, Khalaf Attef, a member of the presidential candidate and Muslim Brotherhood figure Mohamed Morsi's campaign, told Ahram Online report Randa Ali, "I am very disappointed at the verdict; how were the assistants of Habib El-Adly, who managed the whole killing process, acquitted?"

18:55 Heading south to the Upper Egypt city of Aswan, the Revolution Youth Coalition, along with liberal Wafd Party, the Kefaya protest movement and Emsek Felool (catch the remnants of the former regime) organised a "crowded" protest in Aswan's Martyrs Square, reports Al-Ahram Arabic site. The primary demand, the protesters says, is to call for "the cleansing of the judiciary" following the Mubarak trial verdict.

18:45 Protesters wielding 'Kossa' (courgettes) march around Tahrir Square. The demonstrators explained to an Ahram Online reporter that the Kossa, which also means nepotism in Arabic, is a symbol of Mubarak's government, the ruling military council and presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq–who they see as being part of the same regime. They also added that the vegetables are making a reference to the unfair nature of the Mubarak trial.

On Tahrir Qandil, 20, a dentistry student at Misr International University, explained how the Mubarak regime would live on through Shafiq's presidency if he were to win:

"It's like a pyramid, once you remove the final stone on the top, in this case Mubarak, you need to replace it, so they have done with Shafiq, to make the regime good again. Shafiq as president is their way of trying to abort the revolution. We're here, because the people know this."

18:30 Eliminated presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi has just arrived in Tahrir Square along with tens of protesters in a small march from the Qasr El-Nile Bridge side. According to Ahram Online's reporter, the Nasserist icon was warmly received by the demonstrators.


Meanwhile in Alexandria, tens of thousands of protesters are demonstrating in front of the Kaed Ibrahim Mosque, a venue of many protests in the coastal city, after several marches converged there. Ahram Online's reporter said a lot of the demonstrators are from the Muslim Brotherhood, some are suggesting a 24-hour hunger strike. Members from Ultras groups (hardcore football fans groups) including Ahly's Ultras Ahlawy are also out in full force.

18:00 Starting in Tahrir Square, thousands have gathered chanting against the ruling military council, Egypt's ousted president and former regime member Ahmed Shafiq, who is running for presidency. Groups of protesters managed to scale a building and pull down presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq's billboard overlooking 6 October bridge. They are burning the poster in the square.

Ahmed Aggour, 24, who was protesting outside the Mubarak trial and by the burning campaign material, explains why people have flocked to the streets:

"Everyone wants a real revolution, they feel like it really hasn't happened -especially with the likelihood that Mubarak will appeal his life sentence. We are chanting against Shafiq as we see him as the second Mubarak - everyone here has made the connection. We don't want him has president - which is why people have torn down his huge billboard overlooking 6 October bridge and are burning it here on Tahrir. In addition we are protesting against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), it was clearly their decision to let Gamal, Alaa and Adly's police officers off, the military generals tell the judges what to do."

17:45 After a brief break, we're back again with live updates from the Egypt-wide protests against the Mubarak trial ruling. To recap what happened earlier today check out our live updates from the morning here.

Thousands of demonstrators headed to Cairo's Tahrir Square, the focal point of the 2011 uprising, to protest Saturday's verdict against deposed president Hosni Mubarak and his associates. Demonstrations erupted across the country as soon as the trial finished, with marches and protests also occurring in the coastal governorates of Suez and Alexandria.

The ruling unexpectedly saw Mubarak and ex-interior minister Habib El-Adly get life sentences after being charged with participating in the crime of killing of protesters during last year's January 25 Revolution.

The rest of the defendants, Mubarak's sons Alaa and Gamal as well as six of El-Adly'spolice chiefs, were found not guilty. All corruption charges leveled against Egypt's ousted president, his sons and business tycoon Hussein Salem were also dropped because, according to the court, they were committed more than 10 years ago.

Protesters believe a harsher punishment should have been imposed on all defendants. Many groups have announced its intention to join protests, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the April 6 Youth Movement, the Revolution Youth Coalition and the presidential campaigns of eliminated candidates Hamdeen Sabbahiand Abdel-Monem Abul-Fotouh as well as the "Ultras", hardcore football fans of Cairo's Ahly and Zamalek teams.