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Middle East
Cairo set for second night of protests
Protesters set to return to Tahrir Square amid anger among supporters of revolution at acquittals of Mubarak-era aides.
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2012 11:48
Hundreds of demonstrators are occupying Tahrir Square after a court sentenced Mubarak to life in prison [AFP]


Cairo's Tahrir Square fell quiet after a night of protests fuelled by anger at the acquittals of several former Mubarak-era officials, but crowds were expected to return later to express frustration amid fears for Egypt's stalling revolution.

A few hundred protesters continued to demonstrate on Sunday, after up to 10,000 people had converged on the birthplace of the uprising against Hosni Mubarak's regime the night before.

Although Mubarak on Saturday received a life sentence for failing to stop the killing of protesters during Egypt's uprising, he and his sons were cleared of corruption charges, setting off protests demanding greater accountability for 30 years of abuses under the old regime.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, reporting from Cairo, said most of the protesters started clearing out shortly after midnight.

"There are more protests and demonstrations planned for Sunday, starting around sunset when the weather gets a bit cooler," said Tadros.

"They're going to march from different areas around Cairo to Tahrir Square, and people here are already starting to prepare for that," said our correspondent, adding that protests were also being planned in other cities, such as Suez and Alexandria.

Verdicts and sentences:

  Hosni Mubarak: Guilty of conspiring in killing of protesters - life sentence; not guilty of corruption
  Alaa and Gamal  Mubarak: Acquitted; not guilty of corruption
  Habib al-Adly: Guilty of conspiring in killing of protesters - life sentence
  Four senior aides of al-Adly: Acquitted of all charges
  Hussein Salem: Not guilty of corruption

"The real question here, going forward, is how are these different political factions that have been represented in Tahrir Square, going to stay united in their aims. How does this turn from a spontaneous protest - an outburst against the Mubarak verdicts into a political tool?"

Mubarak's former security chief Habib Al-Adly was also convicted of complicity in the killings of some 900 protesters and handed a life sentence.

But six top police commanders were acquitted of the same charge with chief judge Ahmed Refaat saying there was a lack of concrete evidence.

"Mubarak is 80 years old, I don't care about his verdict. I cared more of the other people who were acquitted," said protester, Mohamed Ahmed.

For some, the verdict raised concerns that, despite Mubarak's fall and imprisonment, much of security apparatus of the former regime remained in place.

Many who supported Egypt's revolution in early 2011 have voiced disappointment at the course of political developments, which will see Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minister, contest a presidential runoff vote on June 16-17. 

Some of the demonstrators slept in tents or out in the open overnight on Saturday.

"We intend to stay today and possibly tomorrow. We expect a lot more people to come during the day," said Omar Abdelkader, a young protester in Tahrir on Sunday.

"Many people had the feeling while listening to the verdict that we were back in the days of the old regime," said student Feda Essam, another protester in the square.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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