Egyptian TV, Associated Press
In this image from Egyptian state television broadcast Tuesday Nov 22 2011, three American students are displayed to the camera by Egyptian authorities following their arrest during protests in Cairo, where an Egyptian official said they were throwing firebombs at security forces. A spokeswoman for the American University in Cairo identified the students as Luke Gates, a 21-year-old Indiana University student from Bloomington, Ind.; Derrik Sweeney, a 19-year-old Georgetown University student from Jefferson City, Mo.; and Gregory Porter, a 19 year-old Drexel University student from Glenside, Pa.

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.