Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Egypt crisis: Student’s fears for family in Cairo

CAIRO, EGYPT - FEBRUARY 03: Anti-government protesters carry rocks to throw at pro-government supporters near a highway overpass on the edge of Tahrir Square the afternoon of February 3, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Clashes between anti- and pro-government factions in Egypt's central square continued February 3, with anti-government forces gaining more territory outside of Tahrir Square from Egyptians loyal to the government of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

An Egyptian-American student studying in Londonderry has spoken of his concern for family and friends as violence erupted on the streets of Cairo.

Ibrahim Elshamy (23), who now lives in the US, visited the Egyptian capital just weeks ago and his girlfriend Alexandria was yesterday evacuated from there to her home in New York.

Mr Elshamy received a prestigious Senator George Mitchell Scholarship from the US government to undertake a Masters degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at Magee campus in Derry.

Speaking after the latest violence in Egypt, Mr Elshamy said: “I have been watching the events on al- Jazeera online. My dad is from Egypt and I have tonnes of family in Cairo and other areas.

“My girlfriend was in Cairo and she has just left. Things are changing there really quickly, pretty much every day.

“One of the strangest things was that the internet was gone for several days, phones were cut, but that was before the violence on Wednesday. I think that was a really bad turning point. It is hard to watch.

“People wanted change and it is so profound now that people have risen up. It is going to be an anxious wait to see what happens.”

Mr Elshamy was speaking ahead of a rally in Derry this evening in solidarity with the people of Egypt.

The Derry Anti-War Coalition has organised the vigil to take place in Guildhall Square at 5pm.

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