Young Flintshire teacher caught up in Egypt riots

Reporter:

Helen Davies

A FLINTSHIRE beauty queen has been caught up in the riots in Egypt.

Lauren Eve Rowley from Connah’s Quay, who was crowned Miss Flintshire 2010, has been told not to leave her apartment because of the violent protests taking place.

Lauren’s mum, Heather Rowley, said she is “petrified” for Lauren’s safety.

“I feel like she’s in a war zone,” said Heather. “Where the riots are taking place in Giza is near where she lives in 6th of October City.”

Lauren, 21, has been teaching at an English school in Egypt since graduating from the University of Bangor in July.

The school she’s been teaching at has been closed because of the riots, which are being staged in protest at the way the country is being run by President Hosni Mubarak.

Police in the country have been firing live ammunition and using water cannons and tear gas to disperse the rioters, who are angry at the poverty, lack of jobs and authoritarian rule in Egypt.

Speaking before communication links went down, Lauren, told The Leader:
"The main riots are in Cairo.

“I’m not allowed to leave the house, we’ve been told not to go out.”

She added the riots were organised on Facebook and Twitter, which have since been blocked.

Heather added: “We have been away for the weekend but I just couldn’t settle.

“I just keep telling myself that if things get that bad Lauren will be sent home to the UK.

"I usually speak to her everyday, a couple of times a day, so this is just torture.

“If I could chat to her it would be fine, but it's the not knowing that is the worst part.

“The school where she works is right in the thick of it and they have closed.

“She just has to sit tight and wait for it all to die down.”

Lauren was crowned Miss Flintshire 2010 in November 2009 and reached the finals in the Miss Wales competition held last June.

She went to Egypt to work because of the lack of teaching jobs locally.

“I’ve asked her if she could go to France or Italy next time she goes away, but I guess anything could happen anywhere,” said Heather.

“Lauren doesn’t worry about anything, she’ll just keep out of it.

“I’m trying not to think about it. I watched the riots on the news on Tuesday and Wednesday but I’ve not watched it since. I keep telling myself she’s fine.”

She added she was able to speak to Lauren on Sunday night.

"She's a bit upset but she's okay.,” said Heather. “She was ringing from the landline of an Egyptian lady she knows. She had run out of food, the lady teaches at her school and lives nearby so had given her some more food and let her use the phone."

- The Egyptian army has said it will not use force against protesters, but Britons yet to leave the crisis-stricken country were advised to stay away from public gatherings.

Organisers called for a million people to join protest rallies yesterday to mark a week of open dissent and increase pressure on Mr Mubarak to stand down.

See full story in the Leader

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