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Russian Students Patrol Cairo's Turbulent Streets

Thousands of protesters flooding Cairo’s main square on Tuesday. Khalil Hamra

Russian students stranded in Cairo have joined a stick-wielding militia that is guarding neighborhoods from looters as political protests in Egypt intensify, a news report said Tuesday.

Some 140 Russians, most of them natives of the Volga Federal District studying at the Islamic Al-Azhar University, are awaiting evacuation from the country, Rusnovosti.ru said.

Meanwhile, they joined civil patrols organized by locals, Ufa-born Daniyar Khuzhakhmetov said.

“We have a good relationship with local residents. If they protect us at night, we should protect them as well,” Khuzhakhmetov was quoted as saying.

There are 75,000 Russians in Egypt, including about 30,000 property owners who live there, the Federal Tourism Agency said Tuesday, Interfax reported.

Only 10 percent of Russian tourists have sought evacuation, with the rest refusing to cut their vacations short at Red Sea resort towns untouched by the turmoil in northern Egypt, the report said, citing the Sports, Tourism and Youth Politics Ministry.

But tour operators who allow tourists to fly to Egypt may face criminal prosecution in Russia, the ministry said.

Protests against the rule of Egypt's authoritarian leader, Hosni Mubarak, started last week. More than 250,000 people rallied in downtown Cairo on Tuesday in response to a call for a rally of 1 million protesters to demand his ouster.

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