Last Updated: Tue Jun 05, 2012 16:46 pm (KSA) 13:46 pm (GMT)

Egyptians plan mass protests in Tahrir Square to ‘protect revolution’

Egyptians have been converging at al-Tahrir square in Cairo to protest the verdict for deposed leader Hosni Mubarak. (Reuters)
Egyptians have been converging at al-Tahrir square in Cairo to protest the verdict for deposed leader Hosni Mubarak. (Reuters)

Egypt’s revolutionary forces called for mass protests across the country on Tuesday against the judicial verdict in the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak, his sons and senior aides. Participants are also protesting the candidacy of Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, who is running against the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi in the presidential election run-off.

The Muslim Brotherhood announced it would take part in Tuesday’s mass protest along with the Revolution Youth Coalition, the Justice and Freedom Movement, the April 6 Youth Movement, the Popular Socialist Alliance Party, the Revolutionary Socialists and the Maspero Youth Union.

The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, meanwhile, said that it will boycott a meeting between the ruling military council and political powers, scheduled on Tuesday.

The meeting is supposed to address the Advisory Council’s proposed supplementary Constitutional Declaration and the formation of the Constituent Assembly, Egypt’s daily al-Masry al-Youm reported.

On its Facebook page, the party called upon all Egyptians to take part in the million-man protest for the “protection of the revolution” to make sure that the revolution goes on and achieves its goals.

The FJP reiterated its rejection of any constitutional amendments, confirming that it will continue to consult with other political parties and powers in a bid to reach a consensus on the Constituent Assembly to draft Egypt’s new constitution.

On Saturday, Mubarak and his interior minister Habib al-Adly were handed life sentences for their role in the killing of peaceful protesters during last year’s uprising. Six of Adly’s top assistants were acquitted of similar charges.

In a separate corruption case, Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, and Egyptian business tycoon Hussein Salem were all found not guilty.

The verdicts were followed by mass protests and sit-ins in Cairo’s iconic al-Tahrir Square, and in other Egyptian cities, since Saturday night.

According to a report published by the online edition of the state-run al-Ahram daily, the main march will depart from the Sayeda Zeinab mosque to al-Tahrir Square in Cairo after the Maghreb (sunset) prayers.

In the city of Mahalla, a march will begin at al-Shon Square, whilst in the city of Banha, a march will begin at the Nasser mosque. In the southern Assuit governorate, a protest outside the main government building will begin at 4 pm, the report said.

Egyptian politicians, including three of the losing candidates in the first round of the presidential election, joined forces on Monday with youth groups demanding the suspension of a second-round run-off.

The joint call aimed at putting pressure on election frontrunner Shafiq.

Leftist Hamdeen Sabbahi and moderate Islamist Abdul Moniem Abul Fotouh, who came third and fourth respectively in last month’s polls, inked the statement along with fellow candidate Khaled Ali.

They are demanding that the run-off be suspended until the implementation of the so-called ‘Political Isolation Law’ which bans Mubarak-era officials from standing for office.

Shafiq was initially barred from standing in the presidential race but in late April the electoral commission accepted an appeal from Mubarak’s last premier against his disqualification.

According to Egypt’s state-run al-Akhbar daily, Egypt’s top court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the law on June 11 -- five days before the run-off is due to be held.

The three knocked-out candidates said that violations had rendered the result invalid, further challenging the legitimacy of the vote.

In a joint statement, their campaigns listed irregularities which included an allegation that the ballots of 1.5 million voters systematically had been rendered void, according to Reuters.

The complaints were based on the official logs of the vote count which by law are distributed to the candidates, the statement said. It added that Shafiq’s voters had included hundreds of members of the security forces, who are not entitled to vote, and people listed as dead.

Ballots cast in favor of Sabbahi had been found loose outside polling stations in five provinces, it added.

“After coordination, the campaigns of the three candidates declare the invalidity of the result of the first round of the presidential election,” the joint statement declared.

Sabbahi formally asked a Cairo court to suspend the whole election and order a re-run, a judicial source said, but the legal challenge was unlikely to disrupt the election timetable.

International monitors received their accreditation too late to monitor most of the election campaign but gave guarded approval of the voting process despite several irregularities.

On Monday, Mursi met Sabbahi and Abul Fotouh in a meeting that produced a joint call for participation in Tuesday’s mass protest, but no sign of the kind of agreement that might help rally broad support to the Brotherhood’s side in the run-off.

According to the private al-Hayat TV, Mursi turned down their demand to withdraw from the run-off against Shafiq.

They also called for a just and urgent trial for Mubarak and “the symbols of his regime,” according to a joint statement.

(Written by Abeer Tayel)

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