Thousands of Egyptian protesters have held rallies in the capital Cairo against former premier Ahmed Shafiq, demanding that the Mubarak era remnant be barred from running for the run-off presidential election,Press TVreports. The demonstrators gathered in the iconic Tahrir Square after Friday prayers, expressing opposition to the ruling of another Mubarak ally after the toppling of the former dictator in an uprising in February 2011.
Chanting slogans against the military junta, the protesters also lambasted the judiciary for its verdict in the Mubarak trial and called for the sacking of the public prosecutor for what they said was his failure to present enough evidence in the Mubarak’s case. The gathering also accused Shafiq of complicity in the killing of the peaceful protesters during the uprising. Mubarak and his Interior Minister Habib al-Adli, were both sentenced to life in prison in a final verdict hearing in a Cairo court on May 2 for killing protesters. The controversial ruling, failed to sentence Mubarak to death for what it called unreliability of the witnesses and lack of proof. However, six of his security chiefs were acquitted of charges of being involved in the killing of protesters. The court ruling triggered nationwide protests in the country, with angry demonstrators condemning the “theatrical” hearing and demanding the execution of former president. Protests were also held in Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast and several other cities. The protest dubbed "Friday of determination" comes as Shafiq is expected to run against Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi in next week's run-off election on June 16 to 17. In a press conference in the outskirts of Cairo, however, Shafiq vowed to provide jobs and freedom of speech in Tahrir Square and a free internet for all Egyptians. The protesters also demand the implementation of the political disenfranchisement law which bans all members of the Mubarak regime from entering political life. The angry protesters say if military-backed Shafiq emerges as the winner of the landmark election, it will be a reproduction of the previous regime. AO/JR/AZ