Mubarak’s Judgment Day

It was only when the chopper appeared out of the bright, blue sky that many Egyptians finally believed that their fallen pharaoh would face the music.Some had been waiting in the morning sunshine for at least two hours, standing outside the vast police-academy complex on the eastern edge of Cairo where former president Hosni Mubarak is being tried in a makeshift courtroom.At around 8:55 a.m., as the helicopter buzzed in over the ranks of news teams and satellite dishes, there were cheers from some of the crowd as it dipped toward the ground and landed beyond the 15-foot wall surrounding the academy.

“The criminal is here! The criminal is here!” shouted a group of protesters waving Egyptian flags and homemade banners. Not far away a couple of soldiers cradled their Kalashnikovs as they eyed the action from an armored personnel carrier.Until this morning many Egyptians had suspected that the man who had ruled them since 1981 might somehow evade his date with destiny.“I thought it wasn’t going to happen,” Mohammad Quessny, 23, told The Daily Beast while standing in front of the giant TV screen erected outside the academy. “Now he is here. I can’t believe it.”

Neither could some of the pro-Mubarak supporters who had arrived to voice their support. Before the former president entered the courtroom, there were a number of running battles with the anti-Mubarak crowds. Squads of baton-wielding riot police charged in and separated the sides under a shower of rocks and abuse.It was not long before Mubarak, a frail 83-year-old who was Air Force chief during Egypt’s 1973 war with Israel, appeared in front of the cameras. Accompanied by his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, who were both dressed in white prison uniforms, the former president cut a pathetic figure as he was wheeled in on a hospital bed. – Thedailybeast