The verdicts handed out on Saturday are absurd. If [former interior minister] Habib El Adly received a life sentence for giving the order to kill protesters, then how is it possible not to punish those who carried out the orders?
While these verdicts were being pronounced, protesters were already out in Tahrir Square, demanding that a law forbidding former Mubarak regime leaders from running for political office be applied. The aim of this is to get Shafiq out of the race. So the slogans they chanted were not just about the verdicts; they more generally condemned the return of the former regime’s leaders. Many of these protesters intend to boycott the vote because they are against anything organised by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces [the military transitional government.]
The Tahrir Square protesters are a motley crew. There are those who participated in the revolution, of course, but there are also Islamists. During the first round, some of the protesters voted for Aboul Foutouh [an Islamist candidate who came in fourth], others for Sabbahi [a Socialist candidate]. For some, it’s their very first time protesting. They are people who up until now had tolerated the military government, but were disappointed by the court’s verdicts.
Though I too was disappointed, the current situation gives me hope. When we heard the results of the first round, we were distraught with the choice before us: we would have to choose between an Islamist and a former regime figurehead. But today, all eyes are once again on Tahrir. These protests prove that a third choice exists.