The significance of the trial of Hosni Mubarak, a stalwart ally of the USA and Israel, and the strongest of Middle Eastern strongmen for the past 30 years, cannot be overstated. The fact that it is taking place in a civil court in Cairo only augments its significance. As the sun dawned across the desert international and domestic media prepared to beam it live around the globe.
Even as the final minutes before the start of trial ticked away, a sense of confusion as to whether Mubarak would actually appear permeated the Egyptian public and the media. It was only once his helicopter flew over the assembled crowd and into the police academy that his appearance was confirmed. Protesters erupted into cheers and jeers as the former president flew over them.