It's the day the pharaoh fell.
A court sentenced Hosni Mubarak, the embattled, ailing, and former ruler who led Egypt with an iron first for thirty years, to life in prison for his role in killing hundreds protesters who were demanding he step down.
Mubarak, once a key US alley and one of the longest standing Arab leaders in modern history, sat stone faced as judge Ahmed Rifat read his verdict in court
It began with words that just two years ago, were unthinkable
"The people released a collective sigh of relief after a nightmare that did not, as is customary, last for a night, but for almost 30 black, black, black years -- darkness that resembled a winter night.
"The revolution by the people of Egypt was inspired by God. They did not seek a luxurious life or to sit atop the world, but asked their politicians, rulers and those in authority to give them a decent life and a bite to eat," he said.
"They peacefully demanded democracy from rulers who held a tight grip on power."
Following the verdict, Mubarak suffered a "health crisis" on a helicopter en route to Cairo prison hospital, where he is expected to serve out his sentence. State media reported it as a heart attack, but it could not be independently confirmed. Officials say that upon arrival, Mubarak refused to leave the helicopter for a full two hours, insisting instead that he be taken to a military hospital on the outskirts of Cairo, where he'd been staying since his trial began in August.
Before that, Mubarak had. Been staying in a hospital in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el Sheikh, where he reportedly had privileged access to health facilities, a swimming pool, and received visits from other Gulf rulers.
Inside the courtroom, a scuffle broke out as soon as the verdict was read. Although Mubarak was convicted for his role in suppressing the uprising, he and his sons, Gamal and Alaa, along with a family friend, were acquitted of corruption charges, provoking a new wave of anger and protests across the country. Because of other, pre-existing charges against Gamal and Alaa that have yet to be heard in court, the two brothers will continue to remain behind bars.
A number of revolutionary groups, including the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed during Mubarak's regime, have called for massive protests at Tahrir Square, the symbolic home of the uprising. Many are upset that Mubarak wasn't found guilty on all charges ? and indication, they say, that the old Mubarak regime is still influencing the judiciary.
"Justice was not served," said Ramadan Ahmed outside the courtroom, whose son was killed on Jan. 28 last year. "This is a sham.
The US Based Human Rights Watch called the verdict a landmark, but criticized the prosecution for failing to full investigate the case.
"It sends a powerful message to Egypt's future leaders that they are not above the law," HRW said. "These convictions set an important precedent since just over a year ago, seeing Mubarak as a defendant in a criminal court would have been unthinkable," said Joe Stork, the group's spokesman.
There were celebrations in the streets when the verdict was announced, but it was short-lived, as protesters learned of the mixed verdict. Thousands of riot police in helmets and shields were needed to contain the restive, anti-Mubarak crowd outside the court. Some chanted "Retribution, retribution" while others spread posters of Mubarak on the ground and walked over them.