Aly Palmer, pictured with partner Gerard Torrisi, was in lockdown in her hotel one street away from a clash between Egyptian riot police and protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt.
Aly Palmer, pictured with partner Gerard Torrisi, was in lockdown in her hotel one street away from a clash between Egyptian riot police and protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt. Contributed

Travel agent caught in Cairo chaos

WHILE rubber bullets, tear gas and rocks darkened the air as protesters in Cairo clashed with police, Warwick's Aly Palmer watched and waited from her hotel room.

Staying just one block away from Tahrir Square in the capital city, the travel agent had everything scheduled when she set off on a 10-day trip to Egypt - what she hadn't planned was for another wave of riots to break out on her doorstep.

Reports emerged yesterday of up to 11 deaths following the deadly riots, which began after a peaceful rally held on Friday.

Protesters have been demanding the ruling military relinquish power to civilian authority.

Ms Palmer - who was on a familiarisation tour with other Australian travel agents - took to Facebook to put loved ones' minds at ease back home.

"In lockdown at the hotel in Cairo. Our hotel is across the road from the square where the riots have exploded again. Looking forward to moving on to Luxor tomorrow for the start of our Nile Cruise," she wrote.

She later posted she was "going to pyramids when we come back to Cairo after Nile cruise".

Partner Gerard Torrisi said he was "a little bit concerned" about the unrest in the capital city.

"I guess they're safe where they are - the hotel is well secured and there's no threat at this stage," Mr Torrisi said.

"It'll be interesting to see how they go getting transport to the airport.

"Apparently to leave the hotel they've got to basically go through the mob.

"When I last spoke to her she said they'd still be going on and there weren't any changes (to the schedule) at this stage."

Mr Torrisi said he had been aware of the riots before Ms Palmer had left for her trip.

"I heard on the news - she flew out Thursday night and I said 'there's riots happening in Cairo'," he said.

"They weren't aware of it at the time. Then she texted me Saturday night once she got there saying 'the riots are right in front of our hotel and we're in lockdown'.

"I think when they arrived it hadn't built up then. Over the weekend it seemed to have grown in momentum and the protestors have been rallying together."

The group arrived on Saturday evening local time and were in lockdown for their first two nights.

They have a bodyguard accompanying them, which Mr Torrisi said was normal protocol when travelling through "those parts of the world".

The group had planned to fly out of Cairo yesterday for Luxor for their Nile cruise, before returning to Cairo this Friday.

"When I texted her, because we're only communicating by text, she said they'd still be going on their cruise," Mr Torrisi said.

Ms Palmer is due to return home next Monday.


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