Evidence of dysfunction in Egypt became apparent to University of Delaware associate professor Muqtedar Khan soon after he arrived there last week.
Long lines formed as people waited to get gasoline. A fight broke out, and when a journalist began to take photos, people vented their frustration on him. The photographer turned to run away and tripped over Khan.
"The signs of neglect and very bad governance is very visible," said Khan, who was in Egypt for eight days to do research for a book on government.
The armed forces ousted Egypt's first democratically elected president Wednesday after just a year in power, installing a temporary civilian government, suspending the constitution and calling for new elections.
President Mohammed Morsi denounced it as a "full coup" by the military.
The historic changes come after days of protests. Khan, an associate professor of Islam and Global Affairs at UD, was in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Tuesday as hundreds of thousands of people protested. Many were unhappy with conditions under the leadership of Morsi, an Islamist who has the backing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
"The entire humanity came … hundreds of thousands of people," Khan said.
Khan said the square is comparable in size to Dupont Circle. As he scanned the crowd, Khan said he noticed social and political diversity.
Cairo's Tahrir Square was the epicenter of the 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak, ending his nearly 30 years in power. This week it became one of multiple centers of a stunning four-day anti-Morsi revolt that brought out the biggest anti-government rallies Egypt has seen, topping even those of 2011.
Ahmed Sharkawy, an Egyptian who moved to Delaware in the 1990s, said he believes the focus has to be on making changes to prevent a repeat a year from now.
"I know they didn't get it right [the] first time," said Sharkawy of Newark. "I hope they can get it right the second time. I don't know how long the people on the streets can suffer."
Morsi has insisted his legitimacy as an elected president must not be violated or Egypt could be thrown into violence. Some of his Islamist backers, tens of thousands of whom took to the streets in recent days, have vowed to fight to the end.
Army Chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said Wednesday that the chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court would step in as interim president until new elections are held. He would be sworn in by judges of his court, el-Sissi said. A government of technocrats would be formed with "full powers" to run the country.
El-Sissi spoke while flanked by the country's top Muslim and Christian clerics as well as pro-reform leader Mohammed ElBaradei and two representatives of the youth opposition movement behind the wave of protests. He promised "not to exclude anyone or any movement" from further steps.
But the general did not define the length of the transition period or when presidential elections would be held. He also did not mention any role for the military.
The constitution, drafted by Morsi's Islamist allies, was "temporarily suspended," and a panel of experts and representatives of all political movements will consider amendments. El-Sissi did not say whether a referendum would be held to ratify the changes, as customary.
Moments after the army statement, the Egyptian president's office's Twitter account quoted Morsi as saying the military's measures "represent a full coup categorically rejected by all the free men of our nation."
The army has insisted it is not carrying out a coup, but acting on the will of the people to clear the way for a new leadership.
Islam Ekhwat, 20, of Claymont, also rejected use of the term "coup" to describe what happened.
Ekhwat, who moved to Delaware about five years ago from Egypt, said that he was pleased Morsi was gone.
"The life of the Egyptian people still isn't good. No social rights, no human rights... but it was getting worse because of him," he said.
The army's move is the second time in Egypt's 2½ years of turmoil that it has forced out the country's leader. It pushed out Mubarak and assumed power. This time, however, its removal of an elected figure could be more explosive.
Khan was back in Delaware on Wednesday and reflected on what he had seen during his trip to Egypt. He knew things were bad, but he never expected that the military would step in to take control of the country.
"We are back to square A – if you want a headline that is it: We are basically back where we were in January 2011," Khan said.
Elected with 51.7 percent of the vote in last year's presidential election, Morsi took office vowing to move beyond his roots in the Muslim Brotherhood.
His presidency threw the country into deep polarization. Those who took to the streets say he lost his electoral legitimacy because Morsi tried to give his Islamist allies a monopoly on power, pushed through a constitution largely written by them and mismanaged the country's multiple crises.
To be successful, the new leader must work to build a consensus, said Adly Gorrafa, who moved to Delaware from Egypt more than 50 years ago to work for DuPont.
Gorrafa has family still in Egypt, including two sisters. They have had to keep their children at home from school because it is unsafe to send them out during the protests, he said.
Morsi failed to to help the diverse country find common ground, and as a result people are suffering, Gorrafa said.
"They need to talk to each other, and understand each other, and understand what is good for the country as a whole," Gorrafa said.
At least 39 people have been killed in clashes since Sunday, when the mass protests against Morsi began — hiking fears that greater violence could erupt when the final move was made against him. Street battles in the Nile Delta city of Kafr el-Sheikh on Wednesday left at least 200 people injured.
Mahomoud Fargxly, an undergraduate medical student at Ciro University, has been in Delaware for about a week. He is at the University of Delaware taking part in the Middle East Partnership Initiative program. He has been talking daily on the phone to family in Egypt, and checking in with the latest news on Facebook, he said.
Fargxly was happy that Morsi was removed and said the military would guide the country through the transition to a new president.
He has been talking to fellow students and staff at UD about what's happening in his home country to share his persepective, he said.
"I hope people everywhere, and the American people, will support human rights," he said. "I hope that our government can work again … This is a Democratic movement."