Update: Second protest by Tahrir shut down by police

For the second day in a row, protesters gathered in Abdel Moneim Riad Square close to Tahrir Square to protest the acquittal of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, his interior minister and six other senior officials.

According to privately owned newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, security forces used teargas in an attempt to disperse the crowd who then ran into side streets while the police arrested others. All entrances to Tahrir Square were meanwhile closed.

Gamal Abdel Nasser Metro station was also closed. Transport official Ahmed Abdel Hadi told local media that the decision was taken as a precautionary measure on the request of the security forces

The station will remain closed until further notice, and all entrances and exits to and from the station have been locked, Abdel Hadi added.

Interior Ministry official General Sayed Gad al-Haq also stated that the station’s closure was a precautionary measure, meant to dissuade individuals from attempting to vandalize, spread chaos or use the station as an assembly point.

In another development, according to a Sunday statement by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb will take all necessary measures to re-evaluate compensation payments given to the families of martyrs and wounded people from the 2011 uprising. The president also formed a legislative reform committee to evaluate and study the amendments to the Penal Code recommended by yesterday’s court.

On Saturday, thousands of people in Cairo protested the verdict of the Hosni Mubarak trial earlier today, where the deposed president was acquitted of charges of corruption and conspiracy to kill protesters. Eyewitnesses say that at least 3,000 people gathered around Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the revolution that demanded the former president’s ouster. 

Military vehicles and police vans moved immediately to block Tahrir Square and the October 6 Bridge connecting it to other parts of town. 

According to an announcement made by the Interior Ministry, security forces began dispersing the protests at 8:30 pm after they were “infiltrated” by Muslim Brotherhood members. The statement added that the protests were peaceful until 6:00 pm, until the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrated the protests in Abdel Moneim Riyad Square, close to Tahrir.

Reporters on the ground stated via Twitter that  security forces used water canons, tear gas and birdshot to disperse the protests. There were also reports of live ammunition being fired, which have yet to be confirmed.

According to journalist Sharif Kouddous, who was reporting live from in front of Tahrir via Twitter, the protesters were shouting anti-military and anti-police slogans. He also reported that some of the protesters were chanting against both the military and the Muslim Brotherhood.

In a statement, Cairo’s Head of Security, Ali al-Demerdash, stated that at least 85 people were arrested. Meanwhile, the Facebook group ‘Freedom for the Brave’ reported that four reporters were arrested during the protest and are being held at Abdeen Police Station.

Although death reports had already begun to emerge, the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper quoted the Ministry of Health saying that there were no deaths.  

The protest was in response to today’s decision by a Cairo court to dismiss charges against Mubarak. Mubarak, his Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six other senior Interior Ministry officials were accused of orchestrating the deaths of at least 846 protesters during the January 25, 2011 revolution.

The judge, Kamel al-Rashidy, dismissed the charges against Mubarak due to a procedural error made by the prosecutors, who did not make Mubarak a defendant in the case until two months after it was filed.

The decision sparked outrage on social media and people began assembling outside of Tahrir Square late on Saturday afternoon. 

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