Egyptians demonstrated throughout the night on Saturday in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square and other cities, enraged that a court had spared former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak his life over the killing of protesters in the uprising that ended his three-decade rule.
Many wanted death for Mubarak, who was handed a life prison sentence on Saturday.
They saw the sentence and the acquittal of senior police officers as proof that the old regime still wields influence and feared Mubarak could now be acquitted on appeal.
Thousands of people poured onto the streets on Saturday after the verdict. By yesterday morning, a few hundred were still gathered in Tahrir Square — focal point of the uprising in January last year that brought down the longtime US ally — and said they would stay until those killed in the uprising were avenged.
“This was not a fair verdict and there is mass rejection of the judge’s ruling,” said one protester, Amr Magdy. “Tahrir will fill up again with protesters. In Egypt the only way you can get any justice is by protesting, because all the institutions are still controlled by Mubarak figures.”
Many of the young liberal and left-wing revolutionaries who began the uprising were dismayed when their own candidates lost the first round of the presidential election last month.
The vote is seen as the last step in a transition from military rule to civilian government.
A run-off on June 16 and 17 will pit Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, who holds Mubarak as a role model, against the candidate of the socially conservative Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Mursi.
Dozens of young men ransacked Shafiq’s campaign office in Fayoum south of Cairo on Saturday night, the second such attack in recent days, state news Web site Al-Ahram reported.
A Shafiq campaigner in Cairo said he was not aware of the attack.