(Carl) The Egyptian army raided the offices of 17 pro-democracy groups on Thursday, including three that are financed by the United States. Ironically, many of the secular leaders of Egypt's revolution - who have been left out in the cold in the current election cycle - were brought to the United States for training by these very same groups (Hat Tip: Memeorandum and Mike P).
In Cairo, heavily armed men wearing the black uniforms of the central security police tore through boxes, hauled away files and computers and prevented employees from leaving offices of two of the American groups, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, which are affiliated with American political parties and financed by the United States government. The security forces also raided the offices of the Washington-based Freedom House.
The raids were a stark escalation in what has appeared to be a campaign by the country’s military rulers to rally support by playing to nationalist and anti-American sentiment here.
“General prosecutor & central security stormed N.D.I. office in Cairo & Assiut,” an employee of the National Democratic Institute wrote in a text message from inside its offices. “We are confined here as they’re searching and clearing out office.”
A man, who identified himself as an official with the public prosecutor’s office but declined to give his name, stood outside the offices of the International Republican Institute in the Dokki neighborhood. He refused to answer questions about the raids but said, “Don’t worry, we’re not going to arrest them.”
The raids come of the heels of an investigation by the Egyptian government into foreign financing for nonprofit organizations operating in the country. The military has suggested that such funding has played a role in fomenting protests with goal of bringing down the Egyptian government.