An incredible development as an Egyptian court sentenced Hosni Mubarak to life in prison – the first time this has happened to a standing dictator in the Middle East. However, others were not convicted of charges relating to the Arab Spring and the initial euphoria turned into anger. By nightfall, Tahrir Square was again filled with protesters.
Aljazeera has a good account of the current situation – and it remains to be seen if the promise of the revolution is fulfilled over the coming days:
Thousands of people descended on Tahrir Square to protest on Saturday night, a spontaneous outpouring of anger after a Cairo court sentenced former president Hosni Mubarak to life in prison but acquitted a number of other former regime officials.
The verdict was initially met with euphoria: Egyptians celebrated upon hearing that Mubarak was convicted of complicity in the murder of more than 800 protesters during the Egyptian revolution in January of 2011. It was the first time an Arab head of state had been convicted, and a major accomplishment for the revolution which toppled Mubarak nearly 18 months ago.
But the joy was short-lived. Mubarak’s two sons, Gamal and Alaa, were acquitted of corruption charges, and several senior security officials were found not guilty of murder. Some had wanted Mubarak to face the death penalty; others appreciated the verdict, but expected it would be overturned on appeal.
So they flocked to Tahrir Square, the heart of last year’s revolution, to voice their frustration, not just with the verdict but with Egypt’s post-revolution military leadership.
“It’s garbage,” Najdi Mohamed el-Din said of the verdict. “And it has made us realize something. The revolution of January 2011? We need to do it again, and we need to do it until everyone who was with Mubarak is gone.”
More than 5,000 people had gathered in Tahrir before midnight, and some planned to spend the night. The atmosphere felt almost nostalgic, as if protesters were reliving their roles from last year’s revolution. Many vowed not to leave the square until their demands were met.