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Mubarak witness: No order to shoot protesters

By Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, For CNN
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Clashes erupt outside Mubarak court
  • NEW: The trial will resume Wednesday
  • Official: Police were told to use tear gas, not live ammunition or automatic weapons
  • The judge repeatedly clears the court due to bickering between lawyers, state TV says
  • Hosni Mubarak faces a possible death penalty if convicted

Cairo (CNN) -- Egyptian police trying to clamp down on demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak early this year were told to use tear gas, but not automatic weapons or live ammunition, a senior Egyptian police official testified Monday at Mubarak's trial.

During General Hussein Saeed Mohamed Mursi's testimony, prosecutors attempted to cast doubt on Mursi's credibility, as he was in charge of communication between police forces on the ground.

According to testimony, police were ordered to use police vehicles to disperse protesters, Egyptian state television reported.

The judge was forced to halt proceedings several times due to chaos in the courtroom, according to Egyptian state TV. Proceedings were officially adjourned shortly before 10 p.m. local time. The trial will resume Wednesday.

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Confrontations between Mubarak's lawyers and the prosecution caused the earlier chaos, victims' lawyer Amir Salim said on television.

The bickering started when Mubarak's lawyers raised a picture of the deposed president, infuriating the victims' lawyers, the station said.

Mubarak is charged with ordering the killing of protesters to quash the uprising in February that brought about an end to his 30-year rule. He faces a possible death penalty if convicted.

Outside the courtroom, clashes broke out between police and families of those killed in the uprising that led to Mubarak's ouster.

At least 22 people were arrested and 26 people were injured -- 14 police officers and 12 protesters -- according to the Interior Ministry and the Health Ministry.

"The policemen are beating us to please their commanding officers," said Amal Eid, sister of a teenager allegedly killed by police on January 29. "They don't care about us or why we are even here. Nothing has changed."

Another man, Mohamed Yaseen, tried unsuccessfully to push his way inside court. "There is no real revolution without bearing arms," he shouted.

The clashes began when the families of those killed tried to push their way into Cairo's police academy, the site of the trial. Police used batons to beat them back. The family members, in turn, threw rocks and guard railings at the officers.

Police chased the protesters and family members, beating some and arresting others. After the melee, riot police circled the entrance of the court and cut off access.

A similar scene played out in August during a court appearance by Mubarak.

The trial resumed after a nearly three-week recess ordered by Judge Ahmed Refaat in part to give officials time to review evidence in the case.

Mubarak was wheeled into court on a gurney, flanked by nurses. It was his third appearance before Refaat, who ordered the trial closed in August -- a ruling partially imposed to protect potential witnesses.

Egyptians got a glimpse of an ailing Mubarak during pre-trial hearings in August when he was wheeled into court on a hospital gurney and put in an iron cage -- a standard procedure in Egyptian criminal trials.

Former Interior Minister Habib El Adly, a member of Mubarak's inner circle, is being tried alongside the former president on similar charges. Attorneys for El Adly petitioned the judge Monday to separate the cases.

About 840 people died and more than 6,000 were wounded in the 18 days of uprising that toppled Mubarak, according to Amnesty International.

In addition to accusations of ordering the killing of protesters, Mubarak faces corruption charges. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Also expected to appear Monday with Mubarak were his two sons, Alaa and Gamal. The two face corruption charges. They also have pleaded not guilty.

The elder Mubarak is the first leader since this year's Arab Spring revolts to face a judge.

Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was tried in absentia after he was deposed in January and fled to Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Cairo's district courts have indicated they are considering filing individual charges against Mubarak for every person killed by his forces in the uprising.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz contributed to this report.

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