Anger on the streets threatens to derail Egypt poll

Egyptian presidential hopeful feels anger of a nation after court clears Mubarak's sons

Cairo

Egypt's streets were at fever pitch last night as a series of huge protests threatened to disrupt this month's presidential run-off vote.

After many weeks in which the appetite for street politics appeared to have been snuffed out, tens of thousands of people flocked to town and city centres to voice their fury at the ruling Egyptian establishment.

The protests were triggered by Saturday's verdict in the trial of Hosni Mubarak, in which Egypt's former leader was jailed for life but six police chiefs also accused of killing civilians were acquitted.

Following those verdicts, protesters have aimed their fury at Ahmed Shafik, the former air force chief and Mubarak's final Prime Minister, who shocked millions of Egyptians by finishing as runner up in last month's first-round poll.

Mr Shafik, a self-styled strongman who reportedly threatened to use executions to restore order if elected President, is considered by many activists to be a dangerous remnant of the regime which many believed had been fatally wounded by last year's uprising.

At a press conference yesterday, Mr Shafik cast himself as a defender of secular values against the political Islam advanced by the Muslim Brotherhood. "I represent a civil state, the Brotherhood represents a sectarian Brotherhood state," he said.

"I represent moving forward, they represent going backwards."

Mr Shafik's opponent in the 16-17 June run-off is the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi. But many activists believe that Mr Shafik should not be allowed to take part in the presidential election. The calls for his disqualification stem from a law recently passed by parliament – and currently being reviewed by judges – which states that any official who served alongside Mubarak over the past 10 years should not be eligible to run.

In a sign of the potential problems ahead, one of his campaign offices was ransacked over the weekend in Fayoum, south of Cairo – the second such attack in recent days. With activists calling for further rallies, it appears yet more pressure will be heaped on the Egyptian authorities in the run up to the presidential run-off.

Mubarak, the man who ruled Egypt for three decades, was given a life sentence after being found guilty of complicity in the killing of hundreds of civilians during the uprising which toppled him last year.

But the anger emerged after six senior police officials who were being tried alongside Mubarak were found innocent, sparking outrage from activists and victims' families. There was further disbelief when Mubarak's sons, being tried alongside their father, were found not guilty on corruption charges.

Following the verdicts, which were broadcast live on Egyptian television, a small group of protesters hurled rocks and stones at the ranks of the central security forces outside the court – a hated symbol of Mubarak-era rule. Yesterday, Egypt's general prosecutor appealed against the acquittals.

In a show of the resentment, tens of thousands of protesters began demonstrating against the verdict.

In the northern city of Alexandria, the Mediterranean waterfront was crammed with chanting protesters, while in Cairo's Tahrir Square – crucible of the uprising which toppled Mubarak – demonstrations continued into the early hours of yesterday morning.

Mohamed Morsi, along with some of his defeated presidential opponents, visited protesters in Tahrir Square on Saturday. It led to accusations from some liberals that the Brotherhood – regarded with deep suspicion by many activists – is trying to co-opt the tide of popular protest and convert it into electoral support for Mr Morsi.

Yesterday, Mr Morsi met his two main defeated opponents, the leftist Hamdeen Sabahy and the Islamist reformer Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, in a closed-door meeting.

Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
Review: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
Sport
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
News
People
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Geography Teacher

£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

Do you want to work in Education?

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players