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Egypt's Mubarak at court to face historic trial

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CAIRO- Former President Hosni Mubarak arrived by helicopter Wednesday to the Cairo court for the opening of his historic trial on charges of corruption and ordering the killing of protesters during the uprising that ousted him.

Shortly after his helicopter landed, an ambulance apparently with Mubarak inside drove a short way to the courtroom set up in a police academy.



Mubarak was not seen emerging from the ambulance. Earlier, the former leader was flown in a military plane to a military airport in Cairo from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh where he has lived ever since his ouster six months ago.

Before Mubarak arrived, scuffles broke out outside the trial venue between hundreds of supporters and opponents of the ex-president. In a chaotic scene, hundreds of policemen in gleaming white uniforms and riot police with shields and helmets separated demonstrators hurling stones and bottles at each other.

Mubarak, who ruled with unquestioned power for 29 years, is expected to appear during the trial sitting in a cage set up for him and his co-defendants.

Security was extremely heavy outside the courtroom, which has been set up in what was once named the Mubarak Police Academy in the capital Cairo. Early in the morning, some 50 of Mubarak's supporters chanting slogans and holding portraits of the former leader gathered outside the venue.

"We will demolish and burn the prison if they convict Mubarak," they screamed at hundreds of police and army troops backed by armored personnel carriers.

(AP)