Thousands of Egyptians occupied Tahrir Square in Cairo on the weekend to protest the acquittals for former leader Hosni Mubarak’s sons and his aides.
Hosni Mubarak and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly were sentenced to life in prison on Saturday for their involvement in the killing of hundreds of protesters in last year’s uprising that led to their ouster.
But protesters were dismayed after Mubarak’s sons and several other top aides were acquitted of all charges. The former dictator was also cleared of corruption charges.
“Mubarak is 80 years old, I don’t care about his verdict. I cared more of the other people who were acquitted,” one protester, Mohamed Ahmed, told Al-Jazeera.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said Mubarak and al-Aldy’s convictions send a “powerful message” to the future leaders of Egypt to respect human rights. The organization, however, said that the acquittal of four assistants “highlights the failure of the prosecution to fully investigate responsibility for the shooting of protesters” during the revolution period in January 2011. The acquitted include the former heads of Egypt’s riot police and Cairo security.
Some protesters did not converge on Tahrir Square specifically because of the verdict, as they were fearful that the same people who were in power during Mubarak’s regime are currently calling the shots now.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, or the SCAF, which has ruled the country since Mubarak’s fall, has received numerous rounds of criticism from Egyptians, who say it has continued many of the same policies of the former leader. SCAF officials have said they would hand over power to a civilian government at the end of the month, following the results of the second round of the country’s presidential elections.
Safwat Hegazi, a prominent Islamist leader with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, chanted with thousands of people in Tahrir—some of whom spent the night there. “We are not tired, we want a complete revolution,” they chanted, according to the Al-Ahram newspaper.
Some people and political organizations demanded that the SCAF hand power over to a presidential council with officials who are viewed as being supportive of the revolution, but did not receive enough votes in the elections two weeks ago.
“It is too early to say whether these—or any others—are realistic,” political analyst Ayman El-Sayad told the Al-Ahram. “The only thing we can all be sure of is that those who hit the streets are angry and have a sense of injustice—and they have every right to feel so,” he added.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.