Talk of deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's declining health swirled today after the state news agency bluntly declared that he was "clinically dead," a report that many Egyptians questioned.
The uncertainty over Mubarak's condition came as tens of thousands flocked to Tahrir Square on Tuesday night to support the projected victor of the weekend's historic election, Mohammed Morsi, and express their anger with the ruling military council which on Sunday released a constitutional declaration slowing – if not halting altogether – the promised transition to civilian rule.
Mubarak was moved from his prison hospital to a Cairo military hospital Tuesday night where he is believed to be in critical condition.
Many questioned the veracity of the reports due to innumerable times Mubarak has been declared dead in recent years.
Egypt's Interior Ministry told ABC News that Mubarak is "under observation," declining to elaborate. State-run newspaper Al Ahram said Mubarak was not in a deep coma, as had been reported, while his lawyer told the independent Al Masry al Youm that the former president had fluid in his lungs and low blood pressure.
A small group emotional supporters gathered outside the hospital in Maadi, holding posters of Mubarak. One young man lay on his back on the sidewalk with a scrapbook full of photos and press clippings while two women nearby wept as they spoke of their admiration for Mubarak.
"We are still loving Mubarak, Mubarak is still our hero," said Osama al-Sokari. "Mubarak is like a star in Egypt's sky."
Sokari wore a lapel pin with the portrait of Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minister and one of the two candidates in last weekend's presidential election.
On Tuesday, Shafiq's campaign declared victory in the region's first competitive presidential election, saying he won with 51.5 percent of the vote.
But Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, is the widely-projected winner by just under one million votes. Morsi's campaign claimed victory just hours after the polls closed on Sunday and has been releasing detailed vote counts that in past elections have proved very accurate.
Official tallies are expected on Thursday, but before then the Supreme Presidential Election Commission has to settle some 400 registered complaints, including around 250 from the campaigns themselves.
Shortly after voting ended Sunday night, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces issued a constitutional declaration guaranteeing them wide-ranging powers under the next president. That followed a court ruling last Thursday that declared that part of the lower house of parliament was elected unconstitutionally, and it was consequently dissolved.
The military council's supplementary document stipulated that the president would not be commander-in-chief, that he would need SCAF's approval to declare war. SCAF would oversee the budget and propose laws as the legislative branch until a new parliament is voted in. That wouldn't happen until a new constitution is written, they said, reserving the right to take any objectionable articles in the new constitution, which has yet to be written, to the Mubarak-named constitutional court.
On Monday, they tried to soften the impression they were refusing to hand over power by saying the president had veto power over new laws proposed and could nominate his own cabinet. But they later named a top general as the president's chief-of-staff.
Mubarak Health a Mystery Amid Fresh Egyptian Protests
"I am deeply troubled by the undemocratic turn that Egypt's transition has taken," said former president Jimmy Carter in a statement released by his Carter Center, which observed the elections. The constitutional declaration "violates their prior commitment to the Egyptian people to make a full transfer of power to an elected civilian government. "
Calls were issued Tuesday by the Muslim Brotherhood and liberal April 6 movement for a large protest. As the sun set, the crowd swelled, growing to a size hardly seen since the final days of Mubarak's reign last February.
"We are the real power in the street. They can't give their orders against us anymore," said Khaled Ashour, a dentist. "The first word is from here, from Tahrir. From Suez. From Menya. The power is from people."
Demonstrators marched with signs supporting Morsi and against Shafiq and the military council. "Revolution is back to the square," chanted one group as they passed another chanting, "the law of the revolution, not the law of the military."
"Look at all the people here," said Ahmad al-Hadi, "and you will know that the Egyptian revolution will succeed."