INDIANAPOLIS — The mother of an American college student arrested during massive protests in Cairo says he's an idealist who got caught up in the pro-democracy movement sweeping the country.

Nineteen-year-old Derrik Sweeney of Jefferson City, Mo., was one of three students arrested Monday night.

An Egyptian official says the students were throwing firebombs at security forces fighting with protesters in Tahrir Square. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no authorization to speak to the media.

Joy Sweeney describes her son as a principled person who stands up for his beliefs. But she also says he's the peacemaker in the family and she couldn't see him acting violently.

The other two students are 21-year-old Luke Gates of Bloomington, Ind.; and 19 year-old Gregory Porter of Glenside, Pa.