A provisional government court in Cairo has handed down its first death sentence - to a Mubarak regime policeman who gunned down protesters. Other police violence continues, amid calls for a second uprising.
The policemen, whose whereabouts are unknown, was convicted of shooting and killing 23 protesters and wounding 15 others. Sentenced in absentia, he can appeal if he returns and asks for a new trial by a higher court.
The death sentence is a sign that the provisional military government courts do not intend to forgive and forget allegations against 100 other policemen who have been arrested for shooting demonstrators during the uprising. Approximately 800 people have been killed and more than 4,000 wounded, according to estimates by Amnesty International.
Former interior minister Habid el-Adly already has been sentenced to 12 years in prison, and ousted president Hosni Mubarak faces charges of stealing billions of dollars.
Egypt's provisional military government faces its own protests as violence, crime and disorder wrack the country. More than 80 people were hurt on Saturday during clashes between thugs and Coptic Christians protesting continued church burnings.
New Republic contributor Eric Trager wrote this week, “Unhappy activists have begun calling for a ‘Second Egyptian Anger Revolution,’ which would demand the end of military rule and the establishment of a civilian-led presidential council. For the moment, this revolution redux seems to have little chance of success.”
Activists are planning a “Friday of Politeness” rally this Friday for law and order. If no results are seen, a “Friday of Anger” protests will take place the following week.
“The mere prospect of mass demonstrations against the military – traditionally Egypt’s most vaunted and powerful institution – illustrates that the situation in Egypt is very much in flux,” according to Trager. “And while the politicization of public order might be enabling the military to protect its material interests in the short-run, the instability and popular outrage that it is fomenting is doing long-term damage to the reeling country.”