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Demonstrators Stage Third Day of Protests in Cairo

June 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT
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GWEN IFILL: There was more unrest in Egypt today, and activists called for yet another major protest tomorrow. The uprising comes just weeks after the country’s first Democratic presidential election and more than a year after the toppling of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

The crowds had thinned in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, but the message remained the same on this third day of protests.

MAHBOBA FARAG, protester (through translator): We have to bring the rights of the martyrs and we have to retry Mubarak. This verdict is unacceptable.

GWEN IFILL: On Saturday, lying in a hospital bed and partially concealed within a cage, former President Hosni Mubarak listened as a judge sentenced him to life in prison for his role in the deaths of protesters during last February’s uprising.

Fights broke out inside the courtroom between Mubarak supporters and opponents, leaving some bloodied. Outside, the decision sparked even more clashes. Thousands marched into the night denouncing Mubarak’s sentence as an injustice.

FATMA HAMZA, protester: It’s a very disappointing judgment. The minimum sentence is to be hanged. So we are all disappointed and we’re all back to the square, Tahrir Square for justice.

GWEN IFILL: Saturday’s controversial outcome set the stage for even more tension, as Egypt’s presidential runoff approaches on June 16.

Over the weekend, presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood said, if elected, he’d retry Mubarak.

MOHAMMED MORSI, Egyptian presidential candidate (through translator): We have true evidence to retry the criminals who killed the martyrs, who killed the revolutionaries and the Egyptian people.

GWEN IFILL: His opponent, Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under Mubarak, lashed out at Morsi’s party.

AHMED SHAFIQ, Egyptian presidential candidate (through translator): I represent the civil state, while the Muslim Brotherhood represents a sectarian state. I represent development and improvement, while they represent regression.

GWEN IFILL: More controversy emerged today. Three losing candidates from the last round of voting said those results should be made invalid. They say 1.5 million ballots were illegally thrown out.

More than 20 million people voted less than two weeks ago.