A Drexel University student arrested during a protest in Cairo arrived in home in Philadelphia.
Gregory Porter, 19, arrived at the Philadelphia International Airport Saturday afternoon accompanied by his lawyer and parents. He is from nearby Glenside, Pa.
"I just want to say that I am so thankful to be back in Philadelphia," Porter told NBC Philadelphia. "I want to thank my parents for all their support at this time. I'd like to thank the embassy in Cairo for all they did for us as well as the administration at the American University in Cairo and my lawyers . I am just so thankful to be back and I love to be in Philadelphia right now."
Porter and two other students, Luke Gates, 21, and Derrik Sweeney, 19, were arrested on the roof of a university building near Tahrir Square last Sunday. Officials accused them of throwing firebombs at security forces fighting with protesters. On Thursday, a court ordered them released. All three were studying at the American University in Cairo.
"He's someone who has endured this extreme difficulty with unusual calm, enormous strength of character and a maturity well beyond his 19 years," Ted Simon, Porter's lawyer, told NBC Philadelphia.
Family members greeted Porter at the gate. A relative of Porter's Sharon Sloan, said his family is "thrilled to have him home."
Protests have been going on near Cairo's central Tahrir Square since Nov. 19, in anticipation of the landmark parliamentary elections due to start Monday. On Friday, the crowd grew to more than 100,000 people, and thousands remained there Saturday.
Gates, who attends Indiana University, was in the air Saturday morning and expected to return to Bloomington, Ind., later in the day, university spokesman Mark Land said. He said he spoke to Gates' father, Bill Gates, shortly after his son boarded a flight out of Egypt.
“He said he was doing very well and he was very excited to be on his way home,” Land said.
Joy Sweeney told the AP that her son, a 19-year-old Georgetown University student from Jefferson City, Mo., would fly from Frankfurt to Washington, then on to St. Louis. She said family will meet him when he arrives at the airport late Saturday.
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