Fresh call for demonstrations in Egypt

Activists to hold protests in 11 campuses a day after court dropped charges against Mubarak in controversial verdict.

Egyptian youth groups have called for fresh demonstrations in universities across Egypt amid anger over the dropping of charges against deposed President Hosni Mubarak of killing hundreds of people.

The Road to the Revolution Front, an alliance of liberal and leftist activists, said on its Facebook page on Saturday that protests were to be staged in at least 11 universities.

Near-daily protests have rocked Egyptian campuses since last year’s military-led removal of Mubarak’s successor Mohamed Morsi, but participants in these rallies have largely been supporters of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood.

Mubarak and his associates acquitted of charges

Sunday’s protests could be the first to bring together the two camps of liberals and Islamists who have been at odds since before Morsi’s election in 2012.

“Sisi is Mubarak’s student who excelled him. Down with Honsi Mubarak. Down with every Mubarak. Down with military rule,” the youth group posted on its page hours before protests were due to take place.

A day earlier, Mubarak, along with his long-term interior minister and six of his aides, were found not guilty of ordering or being complicit in the deaths of hundreds of civilians who took part in the 18-day revolt which marked the end of his reign in 2011.

Though nearly 900 protesters were killed, the trial was concerned only with the killing of 239 protesters, whose names were cited in the charge sheet.

Mubarak, 86, and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, were also cleared by Chief Judge Mahmoud Kamel al-Rashidi of corruption charges related to gas exports to Israel.

Tahri Square protests

The ruling sent thousands of anti-Mubarak protesters to streets surrounding Cairo’s Tahrir Square, which has been cordoned off since 2012 to hinder the flow of protesters frequently streaming into the venue.

Those cleared of charges include:
  • Hosni Mubarak , former president
  • Alaa and Gamal , sons of Hosni Mubarak
  • Habib Aladly , former interior minister
  • Ahmed Ramzi , former head of central security forces
  • Adli Fayed , former assistant for interior minister
  • Hasan Abd Elrahman , former head of state security
  • Ismael Alshaer , former head of security in Cairo
  • Osama Almarasi , former head of security in Giza
  • Amr Alfaramawi , former head of security in 6 of Oct area

According to Aswat Masriya, a service affiliated to Reuters new agency, two protesters were killed when security forces used rubber bullets, water cannons and tear-gas canisters to disperse the crowd who chanted slogans targeting Mubarak and his regime.

Citing Health Ministry officials, the news service said 13 people were also injured during the clashes, several of them in critical condition.

Hundreds were reportedly detained, including journalists, local newspapers reported late on Saturday.

As per a legislation issued in 2013, protests must be authorised by the government or else participants face charges of disrupting national security.

In his first comments after the ruling, Mubarak denied responsibility for the protesters’ deaths, in a phone call to a local television station.

“I felt I did nothing wrong at all. I was waiting to find out what they will come up with this time. It was an innocent verdict. I did nothing wrong at all,” he said.

“But, we cannot change destiny. When I heard the previous ruling I laughed. This time I was just waiting. I felt indifferent. It is all in the hands of God.”

Mubarak was not discharged despite the ruling, since he was found guilty in May in another case, related to the theft of public funds.

He has been serving that three-year sentence, under house arrest for medical reasons, in an army hospital in a posh Cairo suburb.

Source : Al Jazeera


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