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Augie President: Band Members In Egypt Are Safe

January 28, 2011, 5:55 PM by Perry Groten

Augie President: Band Members In Egypt Are Safe
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Anti-government protests in Egypt have forced the Augustana College band to leave their hotel and cancel a concert Friday night in Cairo. KELOLAND News has been following the developments as the government tries to get a handle on the situation. But Augustana school officials are confident the dozens of students are safe.

Augustana President Rob Oliver got pulled out of bed early Friday morning.

"At 2:38 this morning, I received a phone call from our tour staff person over there in Cairo and we talked about the fact that they were going to move the students to a new hotel that was significantly out and away from the area of unrest," Oliver said.

The students moved to a hotel at the Cairo airport, miles away from the danger. But the protest did force the band to cancel Friday night's fifth and final concert in their tour.

"One question was, was there going to be an audience in the first place given the situation that was going on there and secondly, our group was in a safe place and we just decided it was best to keep them there," Oliver said.

On Friday, the Egyptian government shut down Internet and cell phone service in the country. Oliver is still in touch with the group by land line phone and can't wait for them to get back to the States and hear their stories.

"There is an air of excitement and they know that there is something significant happening and they were there. They got to witness an element of modern history taking place in a country that's known for its ancient history," Oliver said.

Oliver says the 71 students were scheduled to fly out of Cairo Saturday night. But now that flights have been grounded, that's up in the air.

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