Egypt crisis: Tahrir Square activists maintain pressure

Activist Omar Hamilton: "It feels like the revolution is back in a big way"

Hundreds of Egyptian protesters are occupying Cairo's Tahrir Square in a effort to capitalise on popular anger following the trial of Hosni Mubarak.

There were mass protests on Saturday and overnight against what many see as lenient sentences handed down against the ex-president and security aides.

More than 100 people have been wounded in nationwide protests, officials say.

Egypt's prosecutor-general has lodged appeals against the sentences.

In a statement, the prosecutor's office said he had ordered "the start of the appeals procedure" but did not clarify whether he would appeal against all the verdicts, or just the acquittals.

The Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate toured the square and called for "the revolution to continue".

Mubarak and his former interior minister, Habib al-Adly, were jailed for life on Saturday for complicity in the killing of protesters during last year's uprising.

But six former police commanders were acquitted, and Mr Mubarak and his sons were cleared of corruption.

At the scene

The mood in Tahrir Square is extremely gloomy. Some protesters have joined in chants of "illegitimate" in reference to the verdicts delivered earlier.

Others just sit on kerbstones in the darkness quietly reflecting on this critical moment in Egypt's democratic transition.

One young man, Mohamed Fouad, laments that there has been no reform to the interior ministry as protesters demanded last year. "The first goal of the revolution was the removal of the regime," he says. "Why are we still fighting it after more than a year?"

As he speaks there is a din of hammering from protesters re-erecting tents in the centre of the roundabout. This could turn into a longer demonstration, heading into the second round of the presidential election later this month.

Correspondents say a verdict that was meant to bring closure for Egypt is in danger of reopening old wounds.

Thousands of protesters filled Tahrir Square, the focal point of the uprising that forced Mubarak from power.

Many chanted "down with the military rule" - the slogan of last year's revolution.

"The Mubarak verdict mocks us. He and [former Interior Minister Habib] Adly got a sentence and their aides got nothing," protester Sharif Ali told the BBC. "When they return to court on appeal, they will be freed too."

The Muslim Brotherhood's candidate in the country's presidential election, Mohammed Mursi, visited the square late on Saturday.

He later told reporters that, if elected, he would retry Mubarak and former regime officials suspected of involvement in killing protesters.

"The best guarantee to reach our goals is for the revolution to continue," Mr Mursi added.

After further protests overnight, some protesters stayed on Tahrir Square saying they were determined to stage a sit-in.

"We expect a lot more people to come during the day," activist Omar Abdelkader told AFP news agency on Sunday.

Another protester, Osama Awad, told Reuters: "Yesterday people were united like in the early days of the revolution. I felt the revolution is returning."

Campaign HQ stormed

The BBC's Yolande Knell in Cairo says many poured on to the streets out of depression at the current political situation.

Protesters on Tahrir Square, 3 June Many Tahrir Square protesters are determined to hold an open-ended sit-in

The first round of recent presidential elections has left Egyptians with a choice between Mr Mursi, an Islamist, and Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minister.

In a separate development, protesters stormed Mr Shafiq's campaign headquarters south of Cairo.

Mubarak, 84, is the first former leader to be tried in person since the start of the Arab Spring in early 2011.

Announcing the verdicts, Judge Ahmed Refaat said Mubarak and Adly had failed to stop security forces using deadly force against unarmed demonstrators.

Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, were acquitted on separate charges of corruption.

But his sons will remain in detention as they are to be charged with stock-market manipulation.

Mubarak, who ruled the country from 1981 to 2011, had faced a possible death sentence over the killing of about 850 protesters.

The first leader toppled during the Arab Spring was Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, who was found guilty in absentia of drugs and gun charges in July.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed by rebels in October. Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh received immunity from prosecution after handing over power in November.

Are you in Cairo's Tahrir Square? Are you protesting? What are your thoughts on ex-President Hosni Mubarak's life sentence? If you are willing to be interviewed by the BBC please fill in the form below.

Send your pictures and videos to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.

Read the terms and conditions

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

More on This Story

More Middle East stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.