Egypt: Crowds demand Shafiq's removal


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The Independent Online

Thousands of people took to the streets across Egypt to demand that Ahmed Shafiq, a senior official in Hosni Mubarak's ousted regime, be disqualified from next month's presidential run-off.

Mr Shafiq – Mr Mubarak's final prime minister – was one of the top two in the first round of the presidential election last month, advancing to a 16-17 June run-off against Mohammed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood. The protests came as tanks and thousands of police were deployed to secure the courtroom where Mr Mubarak will appear today, as Egyptians brace themselves for a verdict which will either mark a climactic milestone in the Arab Spring, or inspire further civil unrest.

Observers predict that a verdict perceived as too lenient could offset renewed street clashes.

"An innocent verdict will trigger a horrific reaction," said long-time political reformer George Ishak.