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A group of about 50 protesters, many of them relatives of people killed during the revolution, arrived early on Saturday morning.
Some of the demonstrators yelled at the security forces stationed outside the police academy, calling the former president a dog.
One man held up a poster with several zucchinis, symbols of corruption in Egypt, glued on.
More than 5,000 members of the security forces and 50 armoured vehicles were deployed at the police academy, according to the interior ministry.
A man wearing chains directed his criticism not just at Mubarak but at his last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq.
Across the street, a tiny group of about 20 pro-Mubarak protesters praised the former president.
One pro-Mubarak protester held a sign calling him the "hero of war and peace."
There were a few moments of levity, like when a vendor handed out ice cream cones to the Central Security Forces.
Many people dropped to their knees to pray after hearing Mubarak had been sentenced to life in prison.
The initial reaction was euphoria: People fired off sparklers, prayed, cried, and cheered.
The strongest reactions came from the parents of people killed during the revolution; many burst into tears.
Several people outside the police academy said they\(***)d wished Mubarak received the death penalty.
The initial euphoria eventually gave way to anger, though, and protesters began to mass in Tahrir Square.
One group of protesters roamed downtown, looking for Ahmed Shafiq posters to burn.
The families of people killed throughout the revolution went to Tahrir to protest: Why, they asked, were high-ranking police officials acquitted?
Thousands of protesters trickled into the square as the sun set and Egypt\(***)s summer heat began to break.
One man held a sign accusing the trial judge of bias: "We want judges from China; ours are unfair."
Protests were expected to continue throughout the night as senior political leaders visited Tahrir.
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