The Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate Mohammed Mursi Saturday called on Egyptians to continue their “revolution” as thousands protested against a controversial verdict in Hosni Mubarak’s trial.
Mursi, who faces Mubarak’s last premier Ahmed Shafiq in a run-off on June 16 and 17, said protesters would guarantee a free election and the transfer of power from the ruling military.
“All of us, my brothers, must realise in this period that the continuation of the revolution, and the revolutionaries’ staying put in their positions in the squares, is the only guarantee to achieve the goals,” he said at a news conference.
Thousands of angry demonstrators took to the streets across Egypt after Mubarak and his interior minister were jailed for life and six police chiefs were acquitted over last year’s deaths of protesters.
Both defence lawyers and lawyers representing Mubarak’s alleged victims said the verdict, in which the court paradoxically said it could not determine that police killed protesters, could be easily appealed.
“Down with military rule!” the protesters chanted.
“Either we get justice for our martyrs or we die like them,” a section of the crowd shouted.
Mubarak and his aides were accused of ordering and complicity in the deaths of some of the 850 people killed during the 18-day uprising that ousted the dictator on February 11, 2011.
Mursi pledged at the news conference to hold a retrial should he become president with evidence that would bring justice “for the souls of the martyrs.”
The military which took over after Mubarak’s ouster has said it would hand power to the winner of the presidential election.
“It is clear free elections and a real transfer of power will happen with the continuation of the revolution,” Mursi said, adding that he himself would go to Cairo’s protest hub of Tahrir Square after the news conference.
In a statement later circulated by his aides, Mursi called “on the great Egyptian people to continue their civilised, peaceful revolution to achieve their goals.”
The Brotherhood, through its political arm which Mursi heads, won a majority in parliamentary and senate elections last winter.
It avoided confrontation with the army and even criticised anti-military protesters during deadly clashes last November, deeply embittering the revolutionaries who had spearheaded the revolt against Mubarak.
But after Shafiq’s surprise showing in the first round, coming second to Mursi by a few hundred thousand votes, the Brotherhood has begun courting the revolutionaries to shore up support for Mursi.