Ind. college student charged with Egypt firebombing

IU student Luke Gates (center) with two other American college students in a photo from the Egyptian Interior Ministry. Authorities say they are seen holding Molotov cocktails that were being thrown at security forces.

November 24, 2011 5:38:43 AM PST
A 21-year-old Indiana University student and two other American college students were arrested Tuesday during a wave of violent protests in Cairo, Egypt.

The IU student, Luke Gates, is enrolled at American University of Cairo. He and the other two men were taken into custody on the roof of a university building where Egyptian authorities say the trio had been throwing flaming fuel canisters and Molotov cocktails at Egyptian security forces in Tahrir Square.

On Monday, Gates -- a junior in political science and a social media enthusiast -- wrote on his Twitter account, "reports of tear gas being fired from AUC campus on Tahrir, university officials have started investigating." It was his last posting before being arrested.

Gates' postings on Twitter indicate that he had been on the streets with tens of thousands of demonstrators involved in the days of protests that began on Saturday. The clashes with police and Egyptian security forces have left 29 people dead.

Last weekend Gates wrote that he had been "throwing rocks" and that his eyes burned from tear gas fired by police. He stated that officers fired rubber bullets, forcing him to retreat from the protest lines.

On Sunday he Tweeted, "back to tahrir tonight, as police set fires to everything, no doubt they will blame it on protesters."

During one melee, Gates posted on Twitter, "honestly, hopefully i (sic) die here."

His family in Bloomington, Indiana did not respond to requests for comment.

The three American students were shown on Egyptian TV in a perp walk and lined up against a wall.

In addition to Mr. Gates, authorities say that Gregory Porter from Drexel University; and Derrik Sweeney, a Georgetown University student from Jefferson City, Mo. were arrested.

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo is working for the release of the three students, according to American University President Lisa Anderson.

Gates' father Bill told the Associated Press that he has been in contact with the U.S. Embassy in Cairo but has little information other than that his son is being processed through the Egyptian legal system. Gates, who said his son has been in Egypt since August, added that he doesn't have any expectations as to how the arrest of his son will end.

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