Revolutionary camp reacts to Mubarak verdict with rage, resignation

Revolutionary camp reacts to Mubarak verdict with rage, resignation
Prominent groups and figures have reacted angrily to a Cairo court's decision to throw out the case against former president Hosni Mubarak for the killing of protesters in 2011.
4 min read
30 November, 2014
Protesters have taken to the streets, but not in the same numbers as 2011 (Getty)
The decision by a Cairo court on Saturday to throw out the murder charge against former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and find him not guilty in a corruption case, has been greeted with an angry response by movements and figures associated with the 2011 revolution in the country.

The court dismissed the charge against 86-year old Mubarak over the deaths of protesters during the 18-day uprising.

Although Mubarak remains in prison in a military hospital on a separate graft case, he may be released having served two-thirds of a three-year sentence.

Following the decision early on Saturday, protesters attempted to mass on Tahrir Square, a focal point of the 2011 uprising. Yet they found themselves face to face with army vehicles closing off all access to the square.

Later on in the day, Mubarak's opponents were able to rally at Tahrir, but only around 1,000 people attended, much less than the numbers witnessed in 2011, and in the years since up until the July coup against Mubarak's democratically-elected, but divisive, successor, Muhammed Morsi.

At Tahrir protesters chanted that the trial was a "charade", and that what they labelled as "the gang", i.e. the Egyptian state, remained the same.
     The verdict is a charade, the gang is the same.
- protesters at Tahrir

Hossam Bakeer, who lost his brother Ziyaad in the 2011 uprising, was a square near Tahrir, Abdelmonem Riyadh. He seemed to be relying now on divine justice.

"The verdict on Mubarak doesn't make a difference, whether it was execution or innocence," Bakeer said. "One day the judge will die, and then the protection of the army will not do anything for him." 

The judge at the trial, Mahmoud Kamel al-Rashidi, had said before delivering his verdict that God would ask him what he had "done in this world, and specifically what did you do as a judge", suggesting that his conscience was clear over the decision.

Campus demonstrations

Pro-revolution movements followed up the Tahrir demonstration with a call for more action in the upcoming days, starting Sunday.

The 6th April Movement announced that there would be protests in Cairo, Alexandria, and a number of other cities, all at university campuses.

Security forces have quickly worked to stop any demonstrations, and have massed at the campuses.

At Alexandria University, army vehicles have lined up only metres away from the main gate, and students have faced thorough searches upon their entry to the university.

In the city's branch of al-Azhar University, graffiti attacking the Mubarak verdict was wiped off the walls, and when students tried to demonstrate at al-Azhar in Cairo, they were met by security forces.

Activists and politicians decry the verdict

A number of revolutionary activists immediately took to social media networks to voice their anger and resignation at the verdict that appears set to clear Hosni Mubarak's name.

Should the symbol of the regime that Egyptians rose up against in 2011 be declared innocent, then many feel that this is a verdict being declared against the revolution itself.
     It is incumbent on us to continue the revolution.
- Ghada Najeeb

Asmaa Mahfouz, who rose to prominence when she released a video urging Egyptians to head to the streets in January 2011, asked on Facebook if "innocent means that there wasn't a revolution?" and then asked sarcastically whether those who took part in the revolution would now face charges of attempting to overthrow the ruling regime.

Meanwhile, Ghada Najeeb, an activist issued a call for action.

"Put simply, the person who we rose against is outside of prison, and those who rose in revolution are now inside. It is incumbent on us to continue the revolution," Najeeb said.
     Justice is finished and oppression has prevailed.
- Ayman Nour

Ayman Nour, who ran against Mubarak for the presidency in 2005, and then was imprisoned in the same year, compared the treatment being meted out to anti-Sisi protesters compared to that being meted out to Mubarak.

"Justice is finished and oppression has prevailed," Nour said, "especially when a court rules against protesters and gives them 15 year... while those who killed hundreds are declared innocent."

"Our revolution was romantic, but its dreams have turned into nightmares, its martyrs to simply dead, and its icons into traitors," Nour added.

In comments made to al-Araby al-Jadeed, Mahmoud Ezzat, a leading member of the Revolutionary Socialists group, said that the verdict was to be expected.

"We expected Mubarak to be declared innocent... especially in light of the current authorities being at their strongest," Ezzat said.

"They took advantage of their current support among the people, as a result of the 'fight against terrorism', to declare the innocence of the symbols of the old regime," Ezzat added.