Three American students were arrested in Cairo on Monday night and remain in custody. As of this afternoon, the Associated Press reports that it is unknown whether they have been charged.
The three men were allegedly found dropping fire bombs off a roof into Tahir Square, the focal point of an Egyptian-wide protest that continues through its fourth day. The Alliance of the Revolutionaries of Egypt is calling it the “million man sit-in” with demonstrations also taking place in Alexandria, Ismalia and other places around the north-African country.
When President Mubarak’s power transferred to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces after the January-February protests, the military commanders and chiefs promised safety and democracy for Egyptians. A translated statement from the Council printed in “The New York Times” in February read, “…conditions are now appropriate to facilitate the democratic process through the issuing of a constitutional proclamation that will guarantee constitutional and legislative amendments that will realize the legitimate demands of the people for a true democratic environment.”
However, Egyptians are reacting to what they see as broken promises. Revolutionaries are demanding that a democratic, presidential election take place as soon as possible (by May 2012) so that their country and government is no longer under military rule. Some protesters even voiced they feared that the Council was being controlled by Mubarak as he contacted them from his jail cell.
Since Saturday, at least 29 protesters have been killed and over 1,500 people have been wounded. Police officers fended protesters off with tear gas, speculated to be sourced from Pennsylvania, and rubber bullets. Other injuries and fatalities are due to gunshot wounds and fire bomb burns. Egypt’s Cabinet offered up their resignation on Monday due to their opposition to the violence taking place in Tahir Square.
Luke Gates (Indiana University student), Derrick Sweeney (Georgetown University student) and Gregory Porter (Drexel University student) are the three American exchange students, studying at the American University in Cairo, who were taken into custody.
The Cairo university’s spokesperson, Morgan Roth, attributed their participation to wanting to promote rights and freedoms in Egypt and said that it was not surprising to see American students involved. Roth stated, “There’s a lot of very contagious passion right now. Students from the U.S. don’t always realize what it’s like to live in a country without free speech or other civil liberties, and sometimes are motivated to work to change those conditions.” [Source: “The Associated Press”]
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