The United States has expressed deep concern after Egyptian police raided offices of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) receiving foreign funding.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland urged Egyptian authorities to immediately halt "harassment" of NGO staff.
"We believe that these NGOs are there to support the democratic process. Some of these are institutions that are supported by the United States government [and] that work around the world in the interests of helping citizens realize their goals of democratic processes taking root in their country," Nuland said.
Official media reported that 17 pro-democracy and human rights groups had been targeted.
They included the U.S.-based International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and Freedom House, a democratic watchdog group.
NDI, IRI, and Freedom House, condemned the raids, with some saying it marked an escalation of repression seen under former President Hosni Mubarak before he was toppled by popular protests in February.
Egypt's ruling military has vowed to investigate how NGOs are funded and warned that it would not tolerate foreign interference in the country's affairs.