Protests break out in Cairo following Mubarak acquittal | News | DW | 29.11.2014
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Protests break out in Cairo following Mubarak acquittal

Thousands of people protested on Cairo's Tahrir Square on Saturday, following the acquittal of Hosni Mubarak, who had appealed a life-prison sentence for the killing of anti-regime protesters in 2011.

Some 2,000 people protested the verdict near Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the 2011 uprising that resulted in the ouster of Mubarak and the deaths of over 800 protesters during prolonged anti-government demonstrations.

"The people want to bring down the regime!" those gathered shouted, using one of the slogans that was often heard during the 18-day, anti-Mubarak uprising.

Police intervened in the evening on Saturday, firing water cannon and tear gas and driving protesters into side streets, after supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood joined the protest. An Interior Ministry statement said that Brotherhood supporters pelted security forces with rocks and fought with the protesters.

Security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to brief reporters, said police had arrested 29 people. An unconfirmed report that aired on Al Jazeera TV said one protester had been killed.

The dispersal contrasted with the jubilant well-wishers who greeted Mubarak after the court's decision, when he returned to his temporary home at a military hospital on the banks of the Nile.

A television interviewer later reached him by telephone, asking whether he had ordered any killings in 2011. "I did not do anything at all," replied Mubarak, who was convicted a year later on charges related to the deaths of the protesters.

Ägypten Mubarak Anklage fallengelassen jubelnde Anhänger

Hundreds greeted Mubarak in the streets after he was acquitted

Unprecedented case

Back then, a court sentenced Mubarak to life imprisonment, but the ruling was overturned in early 2013, and a retrial ordered. He is the first-ever Egyptian ruler to be tried and sent to prison.

He is already also serving a three-year sentence on separate embezzlement charges in a case that saw his two sons put behind bars for four years.

The 86-year-old Mubarak has been staying at an army hospital in southern Cairo on grounds of poor health. He was flown by helicopter to the Cairo Criminal Court to hear his verdict and sentencing, state media said.

Another presidential trial

His successor as president, Islamist Mohammed Morsi, is also on trial after being removed from power in July 2013 by then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, who has since himself been elected to the post.

Morsi stands accused of having committed acts of violence both during the revolt against Mubarak and during later protests against his own rule that led to his own downfall.

Since Morsi's removal, Egyptian police have waged a crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood followers in which at least 1,400 peole have died.

glb/jr (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)

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