Egypt Smolders Amidst Protests
LIANE HANSEN, Host:
NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro is in Cairo. Lourdes, you've been out today. What did you see?
LOURDES GARCIA: And they're taking justice into their own hands because there is simply no police presence in many parts of the city. The Army is here but they are protecting pretty much only central locations or important buildings. They're not really widely available. And so citizens have simply come out and said, OK, we're going to take justice into our own hands; we're going to protect our families; we're going to protect our homes, and they seem to be doing just that.
HANSEN: And the protestors, what are they saying?
GARCIA: But speaking to the protestors, they say it's not enough. They want him and his cronies gone. They say Omar Suleiman is two sides of the same coin. Interestingly, when you speak to them they don't know what they want. They're not rallying around a central figure. They're not saying, you know, this person or that person. They say we want free and fair elections and we want this man, Hosni Mubarak, to leave the country and leave us alone.
HANSEN: There have been reports of a prison break in western Egypt. Do you know anything about that?
GARCIA: Well, there's not only reports of that particular prison break but we're hearing that there's been several prison breaks. In fact, one eyewitness report from a fellow reporter who was at a prison here in Cairo said that the inmates had taken over. They were having a shootout with security forces on the outside. So, very chaotic scene. That's something that really is worrying the citizenry here, reports that criminals are getting out of the prison system and indeed would be contributing to the general sense of chaos here.
HANSEN: The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert, urging tourists to avoid Egypt because of the situation. The U.S. is also providing evacuation flights for American citizens. Are you talking to any tourists who are stranded there?
GARCIA: They're not experiencing the Egypt that they were expecting, you know, the pharaohs and the Nile. Instead, as one tourist said to NPR, you know, revolution, it seems, is what this visit has been all about.
HANSEN: NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro in Cairo. Thank you.
GARCIA: You're welcome.
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