Protesters returned to Tahrir Square in Cairo today, despite the ban, after an Egyptian court acquitted ousted president Hosni Mubarak for the deaths of almost 900 protesters during the country’s 2011 uprising.
The former president was seen waving to his supporters from a stretcher as he returned to a Cairo military hospital. However, it is not clear whether or not he will walk free now, as he is presently serving a three-year sentence for embezzlement, reported GlobalPost
The courts decision triggered a wave grief and anger for opponents of Mubarak’s government.
“There is no justice for the poor,” Ramadan Ahmed, father of a man shot dead in Alexandria during the revolution, told the Associated Press. “This is Mubarak’s law.”
Egyptian police used water cannon and tear gas against hundreds of protesters, reports RT, who added that the police, who had promised to refrain from violence, released a statement saying that the use of force was justified because members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood organization had infiltrated the ranks of the demonstrators.
RT’s Bel Trew reports from the Egyptian capital that live fire was allegedly applied by the police. There are also unconfirmed reports that one person was killed in the clashes.
People in the streets told Trew that the attack by police was unprovoked
Arrests among the demonstrators have been performed by security forces, with “some Egyptian journalists apparently among those detained,” Trew reported.
“On the streets of downtown Cairo we’re seeing clouds of choking tear gas, and still the sporadic sound of gunfire is being heard, as the police are looking for anyone who could have participated in the protest,” Trew said.
Demonstrators told RT that “there have been sweeps of arrests, with dozens taken. People have been picked up in the streets, sometimes in cafes, beaten in the back of police trucks. It’s completely chaotic.”
Armored vehicles moved from the square towards a nearby bridge to deter protesters from congregating, a witness told Reuters.
Around 4,000 to 5,000 demonstrators gathered on the road leading to Cairo’s Tahrir Square to rally against the Saturday court ruling, which found Mubarak not guilty of conspiring to kill hundreds of protesters during the 2011 uprising.