(Host) As protests continue in Egypt, the U.S. State Department has ordered the evacuation of some embassy staff and their families. And officials are helping U.S. citizens out of the country.
As VPR’s Melody Bodette reports, some Vermonters have already gotten out of Egypt.
(Bodette) Jim and Eloise Hedbor of South Hero were on a two week tour of Egypt when the demonstrations began.
They saw riot police in Cairo throw tear gas to disrupt demonstrations. Last week, guides told them to stay in their hotel room in Alexandria. From their window, they watched as crowds cheered the arrival of army tanks into town.
Jim Hedbor says he and his wife never felt they were in any danger.
(Jim Hedbor) "It’s a true bottom up popular uprising. About half the people you see out are women, people bringing their families out to see it."
(Bodette) The tour guides were involved in informal neighborhood watches. One man stood guard at the Egypt Museum to prevent looting.
Eloise Hedbor says she’s humbled and inspired by what they saw:
(Eloise) "We went there to witness ancient Egyptian history and along with that we may have witnessed the birth of a new Egypt."
(Bodette) The Hedbors say the airport in Alexandria was packed with travelers. After a day and a half of waiting, the couple was able to get back to the U.S. on Monday.
Also this week, a group of 22 Middlebury College students flew from Alexandria to Prague, and are working their way back home.
College officials say they were also able to put a dozen American students from other institutions on the flight.
For VPR News, I’m Melody Bodette.