Hosni Mubarak 'on life support' as Egypt takes on leaders again
Ousted leader rushed to hospital after day of protests against ruling generals
Toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak was reportedly on a life-support machine last night after suffering a sudden deterioration in his health.
The 84-year-old was rushed to a Cairo military hospital, and Egypt's state news agency had initially declared him "clinically dead", although those reports were later denied.
At one point Mubarak's heart stopped beating and doctors were forced to use a defibrillator to keep him alive.
The development came as the Muslim Brotherhood appeared to set itself on a dangerous collision course with Egypt's ruling generals. Thousands of the group's supporters descended on central Cairo's Tahrir Square last night to protest against a recent military power grab and last week's dissolution of the Islamist-led parliament.
Meanwhile, campaign officials for Ahmed Shafik, the ex-fighter pilot who ran against the Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi in the recent presidential run-off, claimed their man had won the poll – despite emphatic Brotherhood claims to the contrary. Official results will not be released until tomorrow.
Yesterday's demonstration was supported by other secular revolutionary groups such as the April 6 youth movement – a sign of how the political sands again appear to be shifting in Egypt's mercurial insurrection.
Many liberal political factions have previously accused the Brotherhood of stitching up a closed-door deal with the military in exchange for political gains.
But Tamir Fouad, a spokesperson for April 6 – the highly influential grassroots organisation that made its name in 2008 supporting workers during an industrial dispute – said he believed that the Brotherhood was now under no illusions about the military's alleged intentions. "They think we were right about our campaign against the military council," Mr Fouad said. "I think now they believe in the revolution."
He added that a representative from April 6 had been stationed in the headquarters of Mr Morsi during the presidential campaign.
According to Mr Fouad, Brotherhood officials expressed regret for not turning against the military sooner. "They made apologies to us," he said. "They said they were wrong to leave us after the fall of Hosni Mubarak."
In the weeks following the military council's takeover in February last year, many activists accused the Muslim Brotherhood of deserting the anti-government uprising.
Successive demonstrations were spurned by the group, while its leaders appeared to issue statements intended to mollify Egypt's military rulers. The rift deepened when the Brotherhood was accused of trying to shoehorn its supporters on to a committee drafting the new constitution earlier this year.
When the group then broke a previous pledge not to field a candidate in the presidential elections, relations soured even further. But the move was also one of the biggest indicators that the honeymoon with the military was over, as the Brotherhood performed a panicky U-turn in the face of military attempts to stifle its parliamentary power.
With parliament dissolved, the military claiming new powers over legislation and the constitution, and possibly no new parliament for another four months, observers believe the Brotherhood has rediscovered its revolutionary zeal. "The confrontation between the military and Muslim Brotherhood is going to intensify," said Hani Shukrallah, editor of the Ahram Online newspaper.
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