CAIRO – Egypt held a full-honors military funeral Wednesday for the country's former autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, who ruled for nearly three decades before he was ousted in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that swept much of the region.
The funeral, replete with cannon fire and a horse-drawn carriage carrying his coffin, highlighted the wartime achievements of Mubarak. It comes as part of a government effort to make Mubarak's military career his legacy, rather than his time in office.
Egypt's current President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi attended briefly, offering condolences and shaking hands with Mubarak's two sons, Alaa and Gamal, and his wife Suzanne.
Mubarak's body was later placed in a tomb a few kilometers away at his family's cemetery in Heliopolis, an upscale Cairo district that was Mubarak's home for most of his rule and where he lived quietly until his death.
The country's state television channel, meanwhile, maintained live coverage and played footage of Mubarak in his younger, pre-office days, lauding him for his role as commander of the air force during the country's 1973 war with Israel. As president, Mubarak would later solidify peace with their onetime enemy.
Mubarak, who held on to the presidency for nearly 30 years, carried out a brutal campaign against Islamist militants, but also allowed for minimal political dissent from his opponents. Under his rule, Egypt's security branches grew into formidable forces with little civilian oversight, known for their human rights violations. And although he oversaw an opening of the country's economy, much of the country's population slid further into poverty during his time in office.
Holding the funeral with full military honors for the deposed leader stirred up controversy with many Egyptians on social media, who pointed to his conviction on corruption after his overthrow.
Nonetheless, the former president still enjoys a degree of popularity among many Egyptians, who have painted him as a paternal figure. At the height of the 2011 uprising, his supporters would sometimes violently clash with pro-democracy protesters.