Egypt orders "pharaoh" Mubarak's name stripped off

Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:39pm EDT
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By Miral Fahmy

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt Thursday took another step toward erasing the legacy of deposed president Hosni Mubarak by ordering his name, and that of his family, removed from public institutions across the nation.

Sycophantic officials seeking to curry Mubarak's favor had resorted to naming everything from streets to schools to military installations and remote, rural clinics after the authoritarian leader many Egyptians call a modern pharaoh.

Mass protests ended Mubarak's 30-year-rule in February, and a court Thursday ruled it was no longer acceptable for his name, and that of his wife and sons, to be so widely used.

"Officials in the previous administration had named a range of public institutions after Mubarak and his wife with the aim of pleasing him, and for a range of other embarrassing reasons," the court said in a statement after the ruling.

Outside the courtroom, pro-democracy activists celebrated the verdict with ululations and whoops of joy, as Mubarak supporters tried to drown them out with chants of: "Unlawful! Unlawful!"

The case had been brought to court by Samir Sabry, a celebrity lawyer who told Reuters after the verdict it was high time Egyptians stopped living under Mubarak's shadow.

Lawyers for Mubarak had said it was unacceptable to alter Egypt's history like this.

"For 30 years, we've been suffering from a ruling family that has now been accused of several crimes, including abuse of power and murder," Sabry said. "We need to move on."   Continued...

<p>Demonstrators gesture as they listen to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's televised speech screened in Tahrir Square in Cairo February 10, 2011. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih</p>