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Hosni Mubarak is dead. Here's how social media reacted

The death of the longtime autocrat has caused a storm of reactions online, with many bemoaning his legacy
Mubarak ruled Egypt from 1981 to 2011 (AFP)

Melancholy, anger and defiance on social media greeted the news of long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak's death aged 91 on Tuesday, almost exactly nine years after protests removed him from power.

The former president was one of a number of leaders in the Middle East and North Africa toppled by 2011 protests and uprisings known as the Arab Spring.

Though his removal briefly ushered in a period of democracy, Egypt has since returned to autocratic military rule.

His 30 years in power is remembered by many, such as human rights activist Gamal Eid, as one of repression and violence.

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Translation: "For me, he died on February 11, 2011 and the condolences were delayed to February 2020. Save your condolences for those who died in prisons unjustly. Save your condolences for those who lived for 30 years under emergency rule under him. Save your condolences for the workers who were killed in Helwaan and Kafr el-Dawaar. Save your condolences for the thousands of torture victims and those who died of cancer as a result of the corruption of his regime."

During his time in office, Egypt suffered from high rates of poverty, unemployment and corruption. He was believed to have been preparing his son, Gamal Mubarak, to succeed him.

Mubarak was jailed after the uprising, but was freed in 2017 after being acquitted for most of the charges against him. In recent years, he has appeared to be frail and recently underwent an operation which left him in intensive care, according to his other son Alaa Mubarak.

Gamal and Alaa were also found guilty in one of many cases brought against them. However, they were acquitted last Saturday of illicit share trading during the sale of a bank four years before the 2011 uprising.

Following the death of the ousted president, many activists and social media users have voiced their opinions online. 

Actor and government critic Amr Waked tweeted that Mubarak's death will not change much in Egypt, as he has left behind him an ideology and govenment that is much worse. 

Translation: "Mubarak died and left behind him a team of people with the same morals and even worse. Some of them see him as a role model and some see his problem as being too kind and having a big heart, and some think that we wronged him. As long as these people still think like this, then Mubarak has not died."

Mubarak's rule was renowned for its autocracy, and his administration kept close ties with Washington, from whom Egypt received billions in military aid. He also maintained tacit relations with neighbouring Israel.

Mubarak was succeeded by Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected leader. However, Morsi was removed from power and jailed in a 2013 military coup led by his defence minister, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who then replaced him as president.

Morsi died on 17 June after collapsing in court. Independent experts from the UN stated that the detention conditions he was kept in may have directly led to his death. 

Before he was removed, Mubarak oversaw a violent crackdown on the 2011 prostests, calling on the military to quash demonstrations in Tahrir Square and other areas where large crowds had gathered. Despite a curfew and a near-total internet blackout, protesters continued to turn out. 

The violent response resulted in the deaths of more than 846 people. After 18 days of continued protests, Mubarak's rule came to an end in a video message broadcast by then vice-president Omar Suleiman.

Mubarak will reportedly be given a military funeral, which some online have noted is very different from the tiny, secretive service permitted to Morsi.

Translation: "Tomorrow will be a military funeral for Hosni Mubarak in the presence of el-Sisi and heads of other countries, while the funeral of Morsi was prevented and he was buried in the middle of the night. Those who gave their condolences to Morsi's family were arrested and detained..."

Authorities were quick to praise Mubarak. The Egyptian presidency called him a "military leader and war hero", for this role as an airforce commander in the October 1973 war against Israel, and the armed forces described him as "one of its sons and a war leader".

Similarly some social media users have been more sympathetic to Mubarak, showing that he retained some support in Egypt, despite a three-decade rule notable for corruption.

Translation: "History reminds us that Mubarak won the October war, restored Taba, preserved the unity of Egyptian lands, stopped Ethiopia from building the dam, he overcame the political and military tribulations that swept the Middle East and strengthened the infrastructure in Egypt, as well as established positive relations with Gulf states."

Translation: "May God have mercy on him and give his family patience. I participated in the January 25 revolution but this does not stop me from wishing mercy on him..."

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