Kansas City metro couple living in Egypt speak about protests - KCTV5

Kansas City metro couple living in Egypt speak about deadly protests

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CAIRO, EGYPT (KCTV) -

Things are much quieter in Egypt on Friday night with a curfew in effect, but the scene earlier was much different. Thousands packed the streets as deadly demonstrations stretched into another day.

More than 60 people were killed Friday, including eight police officers.

Hundreds died this week as the government cracked down on the rallies. The Muslim Brotherhood is leading the protests in anger over the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi.

The army is authorizing the use of deadly force against anyone threatening public buildings, but protest leaders are calling for more demonstrations across the country every day.

A Kansas City metro couple moved to Egypt for their careers about a year ago. They've been holed up in their home watching everything unfold.

Jim and Anee' Erickson are now on their way to the airport in Cairo, headed for the U.S.

"We live on the 11th floor, luckily. It was on the streets of where we live and that was certainly closer than it has ever come," Jim Erickson said.

Jim Erickson snapped a photo at 1:30 p.m. Cairo time as a crowd of protestors crossed his island neighborhood, headed to a clash with the military across the Nile in Ramsey Square.

"The main feeling is we are watching people we love in a place we love just get ripped apart, and that was pretty devastating," he said.

He and his wife have never felt in danger, and still don't. For the most part, he said, the violence is limited to protests and not targeted at westerners.

"We go to work the same, we go to restaurants the same, we continue with our lives, our events and it's just you avoid certain areas of the city," Anee' Erickson said.

Still it's hard for them to see this week's violence.

The couple arrived last summer after the previous president, Hosni Mubarek, was ousted. Anee' Erickson has a picture of herself standing in front of his burned up headquarters.

They made friends and felt optimism.

"A lot of the optimism has drained. We came for a very popular, democratically elected President Morsi, and then last November he issues a decree that basically states that he's above judicial oversight, in essence making himself a dictator, and democracy kind of died that day in Egypt," Jim Erickson said.

They are confident it will return over many, many years and, though they left Friday, they plan to return in September.

"What gets lost in the protests is that this is really an incredible place with enormous potential and great people," Jim Erickson said.

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