Crowds of Egyptians flocked to Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square for a ‘million-man rally’ against the judicial rulings in Hosni Mubarak’s trial, his sons and senior security officials.
Marchers left to Tahrir from several mosques around the capital led by the runners-up in last month’s presidential election first round – Hamdeen Sabbahi, Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh and Khaled Ali – to join thousands already in the square.
An Al Arabiya reporter covering the demonstration in Tahrir said the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most powerful and organized political group, was amassing its supporters in the square. The group’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), on Tuesday boycotted a meeting called for by the ruling military council with political groups.
The meeting is supposed to discuss an advisory council’s proposed supplementary constitutional declaration and the formation of the constituent assembly, Egypt’s daily al-Masry al-Youm reported.
Liberal groups, such as the April 6 Youth Movement, the Popular Socialist Alliance Party, the Revolutionary Socialists and the Maspero Youth Union, also gathered in the square.
In Tahrir, demonstrators chanted against the ruling military council and vowed to keep their revolution alive.
“Revolutionaries, free, we will continue our journey,” they chanted.
The Brotherhood’s FJP, in a statement posted on its Facebook page, urged all Egyptians to take part in the million-man protest for the “protection of the revolution” to make sure that the revolution goes on and achieves its goals.
The FJP reiterated its rejection of any constitutional amendments, confirming that it will continue to consult with other political parties and powers in a bid to reach a consensus on the constituent assembly to draft Egypt’s new constitution.
Mubarak – the only autocrat toppled in the Arab Spring to be put in the dock – could have been sent to the gallows as demanded by the prosecution but he was instead given a life term, angering many.
He was also cleared of graft charges.
Mubarak’s interior minister Habib al-Adly was also sentenced to life in prison.
Along with the acquitted police chiefs, Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal had corruption charges against them dropped on a technicality, but they will remain in custody pending trial on other graft charges.
The rulings sparked nationwide outrage, with thousands taking to the streets to vent their rage that no one had been found directly guilty of killing the protesters.