Saturday, June 29, 2013

Egypt: Update--More Details on Death of American, 21, Killed While Photographing Violent Demonstration

According to CNN, Friday's demonstrations and clashes on June 28 in Alexandria and elsewhere quickly got out of control.

US citizen Andrew Pochter, 21, a student at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH, was one of three people killed in clashes between competing camps trying to show their strength before even bigger nationwide protests take place by the opposition occur on Sunday (June 30).

Pochter was in Egypt as an intern with AMIDEAST, a US NGO engaged in education, training and development activities in the region, according to a statement released by Kenyon College.

A physician told The Associated Press that  Pochter died of gunshot wounds at a hospital.

Earlier on Friday, the Obama Administration warned Americans against all but essential travel to Egypt, where further demonstrations are planned this weekend and beyond.

Additionally, the US Embassy in Cairo has authorized nonessential staff and the families of personnel to leave Egypt until conditions improve. 

COMMENT: As most of our regular readers know, I have been discouraging foreigners from traveling to Egypt for several months, given the fact that the country is in political turmoil and most tourism and business travel is disrupted on a daily basis as the Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition continue to disrupt normal commerce. 

Although we extend our sympathies and condolences to Mr. Pochter, one would have hoped that the young American's sponsor, AMIDEAST, would have had enough sense to urge their interns to avoid ALL demonstrations, considering that anywhere Egyptian police can be found, lethal force will soon follow. 

The Cairo International Airport was flooded with departing passengers, an exodus that officials said was unprecedented. All flights departing Friday to Europe, the US and the Gulf were fully booked. 

Many of those leaving were families of Egyptian officials and businesspeople and those of foreign and Arab League diplomats — as well as many Egyptian Christians. 

Protesters stormed an office of the Brotherhood, attacked members inside, injuring 10, and set the office on fire in the city of Shubrakheit. Others stormed a Brotherhood office in the coastal city of Baltim, destroying electronic equipment, and another of the group's branches was torched in the city of Aga. 

The opposition has said it will bring millions into the streets across Egypt in coming weeks, with more violence feared. Already, six people have been killed in clashes this week, including Friday's deaths.