The U.S. State Department said it has evacuated more than 1,200 Americans aboard government-chartered planes and expects to fly out roughly 1,400 more in the coming days.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that by the end of Monday six planes will have flown nine flights ferrying U.S. citizens from Cairo to Larnaca, Cyprus; Athens, Greece; and Istanbul, Turkey.
New York-based Pamela Huyser, who had traveled to Egypt for a conference, arrived in Larnaca, late Monday. She described the violent scene she witnessed from her ninth-floor hotel balcony in Cairo.
"You cannot even believe what we saw," she said. "We saw people looting, we saw gunfire, people shooting other people. A lot of people working in our hotel, they came out with sticks and knives and bats and they protected us from getting looted." end quote.
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Additional flights were also being arranged in Turkey and neighbor Greece, where authorities announced plans to increase coast guard patrols to deter immigrants from troubled north African countries from reaching the European Union member.
Greek oil worker Markos Loukogiannakis, who arrived in Athens on a flight carrying 181 passengers including 65 U.S. citizens, said confusion reigned at Cairo airport and travelers had to negotiate a string of checkpoints just to get there.
"In a 22-kilometer (14-mile) route from our suburb to the airport we had to get through 19 checkpoints, including nine manned by civilians," he said. "There were lots of people gathering at the airport and it was very difficult to get in."
He said security had deteriorated sharply over the past three days in Cairo after police withdrew from the streets. end quotes.
I saw video showing how police in Cairo now man some streets to direct traffic but they no longer patrol any neighborhoods as policemen because too many of them were killed or wounded during the demonstrations and the police don't feel supported by the populace enough to stay alive during patrols of neighborhoods so the only police left are neighborhood vigilantes in Cairo. However, the army is protecting Government buildings and museums from looters and if requested by groups of citizens they will descend on hotspots and create order out of too much chaos when many are being killed or maimed in a battle in one of the neighborhoods of the city. A lot of looting because of this has gone on and likely will sporadically until a new government is formed that enough of the people accept. In addition to this all public transportation has ended (at least in Cairo) and maybe other cities as well in including trains and buses. All Banks and ATMs are closed and most stores are closed so food and cash is becoming a problem to purchase food and to stay alive. For poor residents of Cairo this is or could get very grim. Most people who have a passport and enough money are leaving the country at this point if they can.