As the ailing 83-year-old former president appeared in court a small crowd -- of both his supporters and opponents gathered outside the court. Dressed in white and covered with a blanket, Mubarak was wheeled out of an ambulance on a stretcher, footage on the state television showed.
A heavy security cover of as many as 5,000 policemen was thrown in to secure the proceedings held at a police academy on the outskirts of the capital, Al Jazeera reported. While a few supporters of the deposed president assembled outside the premises holding his posters, families of victims who lost their lives during the January uprising also gathered.
"The trial is a sham and the gang still rules," the families chanted. Mubarak is being tried on allegations that he ordered the shooting of peaceful pro-democracy protesters while trying to suppress the mass uprising that eventually overthrew him.
He faces death penalty if found to have been complicit in the killings of over 800 protesters. Al Jazeera said so far most of the testimonies, including from police officers, have distanced the former president from any orders to shoot at the protesters, and the families of the victims have naturally been dissatisfied.
A high-profile witness scheduled to appear in court is chief of staff Lieutenant General Sami Hafez Anan, the second- highest ranking official in the ruling military council.