Presidential candidate Mohamed Morsy and former presidential hopefuls Hamdeen Sabbahi, Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, and Khaled Ali joined protesters in Tahrir Square Saturday evening. A spokesperson for the campaign of disqualified candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail said he was also going to visit the protest.
On Saturday morning, judge Ahmed Refaat sentenced former President Hosni Mubarak and Habib al-Adly, his interior minister, to life in prison on charges of killing protesters during last year’s 18-day uprising. Although the two received the maximum prison sentence under Egyptian law, Mubarak's two sons Gamal and Alaa and six of Adly's top deputies were allowed to walk free.
Many political groups called for protest against the ruling, which they said was too light.
All candidates were quickly swarmed by crowds of supporters; groups lifted Sabbahi and Ali on their shoulders.
“This was the biggest massacre in the history of Egypt, it makes no sense that the person who committed it remains unknown,” Ali told Al-Masry Al-Youm. “In this case the ruling does address the truth.”
Ali said the court ruled out a large amount of evidence from books, weapons, and videos documenting the violence during the uprising.
By late evening, numbers in the square continued to grow, with thousands filling the area.
State TV reported that 39 people had been injured, many from overcrowding, in the square as of late evening. They said injured were treated in nearby ambulances or transported to a nearby hospital.
In Alexandria, protesters called for an open sit-in in Al-Qaed Ibrahim square Saturday evening to protest the sentence.
Angry protests broke out across Cairo Saturday soon after the sentence was announced.
Fighting between police and protesters erupted outside of the Cairo High Court building in downtown Cairo.
Mahrous Abdallah, a newspaper seller, blamed the prosecution's improper preparation for the verdict, saying that even the judge said that the case papers were incomplete. He accused the prosecutor general of corruption. Abdallah believes the verdict is not in the interest of presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minister, because it will compel people to rebel.
Outside of the Police Academy in the Fifth Settlement on the eastern outskirts of Cairo, where the trial was held, families of the revolution’s martyrs clashed with Mubarak supporters.
Riot police beat protesters from both sides. Four people were arrested at the clashes, Al Jazeera reported.
Many of the martyrs’ families were disappointed with what they perceived as a light sentence for the former president. The judge had the option to hand down a death sentence. More than 800 people were killed by security forces during the uprising that lead to Mubarak’s resignation on 11 February last year.
"[Mubarak] has to die just like my son did,” said Sanaa Saeed, whose son Moez al-Sayed was shot in Tahrir Square during the protests. “We need execution. They will let him escape. There is no justice in this country."
Mostafa Mohamed Morsy, whose son Mohamed was killed during the uprising, promised to continue the revolution until Mubarak is executed. "They are fooling us," he said.
Meanwhile, protesters are already assembling in downtown Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolution.
“It’s theater, theater!” the protesters chanted. They are demanding the death penalty for Mubarak, Adly and the senior Interior Ministry officers who were acquitted. The protesters closed the Qasr al-Nil Bridge and Qasr al-Ainy Street, both of which lead into the square.
In nearby Talaat Harb Square, scores of protesters are chanting “Death to the feloul [remnants of Mubarak’s regime].” Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, is one of two candidates in the presidential runoff on 16 and 17 June.
In Alexandria, Egypt's second-largest city, protesters gathered in the downtown area, the main site of protests over the last 17 months, calling for the cleansing of the judiciary and the application of God's law in Mubarak's case.