A Frightening Lawlessness Takes Hold In Egypt
LIANE HANSEN, Host:
NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro has been touring the streets of Cairo today and she filed this report.
(SOUNDBITE OF CONVERSATIONS)
LOURDES GARCIA: All around the city, groups of armed young men like Mark Rafat are out in force
MARK RAFAT: We're trying to protect our neighborhood over here. Many assaults has been going on through the night. We've been able to capture many thieves
GARCIA: The police, says Rafat, have simply disappeared and the army is only protecting strategic locations.
RAFAT: There is no police forces. There's no army. We are trying to protect our neighborhoods before the thieves come into our homes and start assault on our families, and sisters and mothers.
GARCIA: Rafat said he had been participating in the demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak, but now he and hundreds of other young men in the neighborhood are standing guard instead.
RAFAT: We're in nightmare now. We don't know where that shall lead us.
(SOUNDBITE OF BROKEN GLASS)
GARCIA: Down the main street in the suburb of Giza, at least a dozen shops were looted. Mohammed Fawzi's souvenir shop was completely gutted, only broken glass remains.
MOHAMMED FAWZI: They stole all my shop - everything. Maybe more than 100 people they have weapons, that's why I can't do anything. Some people just doesn't love Egypt.
(SOUNDBITE OF TRAFFIC)
GARCIA: So I'm driving through the streets of Cairo, and this is a Sunday - it's the start of the working week. And what we're seeing is that most of the shops are shuttered, there are a lot less people out and about. And the shops that are open, people are crowding in trying to get supplies, predicting the worst.
(SOUNDBITE OF CONVERSATIONS)
GARCIA: Khaled Teki has also been taking part in the protests. But today, he was trying to get food and supplies for his family.
KHALED TEKI: Definitely the shops will close, and I'm worried about this. You can say for now it exists. But tomorrow or day after tomorrow, I don't think so.
GARCIA: Joyce Lanphere and her husband, Marvin, are from San Francisco.
MARVIN LANPHERE: I've never been in a situation like this before.
JOYCE LANPHERE: One of the people on the tour said yesterday, like the MasterCard ad: Camel ride $5, boat river cruise $50, revolution, priceless.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHANTING PROTESTORS)
GARCIA: Ahmad Musleh was among the demonstrators.
AHMAD MUSLEH: (Through Translator) They are two faces of the same coin, actually.
GARCIA: Unidentified Man #1: No more Suleiman.
GARCIA: Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News, Cairo.
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