Ten students in Cairo for a UC Davis Summer Abroad program, their instructor and her son will be evacuated from Egypt amid concerns that protests and violence could escalate in a showdown between the country's president and its military.
The evacuation comes at the same time the military has staged a coup in Egypt, ousting Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, who denounced it as a "full coup" by the military.
After the televised announcement by the army chief, millions of anti-Morsi protesters in cities around the country erupted in delirious scenes of joy, with shouts of "God is great" and "Long live Egypt."
Fireworks burst over crowds dancing and waving flags in Cairo's Tahrir Square, epicenter of the 2011 uprising that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Now it was 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.
The group includes eight UCD students and one student each from UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz. The group - led by instructor Noha Radwan of UCDs' Department of Comparative Literature, a Cairo native - arrived in Cairo on June 18 for a course on the works of Egyptian authors and filmmakers. They were scheduled to leave on July 16.
Zachary Frieders, associate director of the Education Abroad Center at UC Davis, said each of the group members is safe, and his office is working to facilitate their evacuation by Thursday morning Cairo time.Initially, they will be flown to Paris. He said the group's emergency contacts are being kept informed as the situation unfolds.
Frieders said UCD and systemwide officials are exercising caution in the light of increasing instability and concerns about how further developments may disrupt transportation and infrastructure. "Our primary concern is the safety of students and ensuring safe passage out of the country," he said.
Frieders said the decision to close the program and evacuate the students was a based on a thorough analysis, consultation with risk and safety leadership on campus and at the UC Office of the President, and advisories from the U.S. State Department and others.
This is the second year the UCD program has been offered in Cairo. In spring 2011, the University of California Education Abroad Program brought students back early from one of its programs in Cairo.
Annually, more than 1,000 UCD students participate in study abroad programs in about 40 countries.