Political News

Triangle resident hopes to get out of Cairo as tensions escalate

Posted January 29, 2011 5:58 p.m. EST
Updated January 30, 2011 11:50 a.m. EST

— A Triangle man in Cairo described a "volatile" situation as protesters call for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in violent demonstrations across the capital city of 18 million Saturday.

"I can hear the chanting and I can hear the gunshots," said Hank Healey, who works for RTI International in Research Triangle Park. He is in Cairo to consult with government leaders there about the country's educational system.

From his hotel room downtown, Healey said he's watched as protests escalate.

"It was actually quite fascinated to have one eye on the TV and one eye watching it live," Healey said.

About 2,000 people have been wounded and 62 killed in the anti-government demonstrations. Widespread looting and a marked military presence near key government buildings have been reported since the conflict started Tuesday.

Healey said his company is considering sending a private plane to get him and others out of Egypt before things get worse. Right now, he said, he fears for his safety if he tries to leave.

"I'd be one of the few cars on the road,"  he said. "If you're one of a few cars on the road, then a gang can stop you. I would much rather be on the road with hundreds of cars."

Closer to home, several hundred people gathered outside the Egyptian embassy in Washington, D.C. Saturday.

North Carolina State University student and native Egyptian Hussein El Nawawy was among them. He said he's hopeful that conditions in the country will improve if Mubarak leaves power.

"Hopefully, the right people will be able to take the country to the right place from where it is right now," El Nawawy said Friday.