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Egyptian Protests Grow Violent


President Obama may be in South Africa but his attention is also on Egypt. Mr. Obama said today, he's concerned about political protests and clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi which have left at least three people dead, including one American.

Joining us now is NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson from Cairo. Thanks for joining us, Soraya.


NEARY: Soraya, Americans are now being warned not to travel to Egypt. Non-emergency, diplomatic staff have been ordered to leave. This comes after a 21-year-old American was killed yesterday. Just how dangerous is this situation now?

NELSON: Well, it's very volatile, especially because it's unclear what role the security forces on one hand and the military here on the other are going to play. They've sort of been standing back and letting this play out between the opposing forces here, which as you mentioned, you have a large group of people who really want President Mohamed Morsi to step down. And then you have his supporters on the other side.

So, it's quite dangerous and quite volatile but I think it's more of a question mark at point what's going to transpire tomorrow.

NEARY: What do we know about the young American man who was killed?

NELSON: Well, his name is Andrew Driscoll Pochter. He's 21 from Chevy Chase, and he was here working with a nonprofit NGO, which is involved in education and development programs here. And it's unclear yet what exactly he was doing in this part of Alexandria, but it's where you had a flare-up yesterday. So, he was there, though, and he was stabbed to death, according to Egyptian security officials.

NEARY: What are the protesters demanding?

NELSON: They want President Morsi to resign, at least the protests who are against him. The group that sort of is organizing this says that they have gathered some 22 million signatures at this point, something which has not been independently verified. But calling for President Morsi after his year in office to step down.

The feeling is he has not - economic relief to this very large and largely poor nation. Gasoline at the moment is very hard to come by, for example. It's about four dollars a gallon, if you can even find it. Food prices have gone up, so has cooking gas and everything else. So, there's been no relief for the people, which is what they seeking since toppling President Mubarak two years ago.

NEARY: NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson from Cairo. Thanks so much, Soraya.

NELSON: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.