BRUSSELS - The European Union said on Friday police raids of pro-democracy and human rights groups' offices in Egypt amounted to an "open demonstration of force" and urged the authorities to support civil society.
Egyptian prosecutors and police raided the offices of 17 groups on Thursday, in what the official MENA news agency said was an investigation into foreign funding. The move drew protests from the United States.
"This open demonstration of force against civil society organizations is particularly worrying as it comes in the midst of Egypt's transition towards democracy," an EU foreign policy spokesman, Michael Mann, said.
He said the bloc's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, had called on Egyptian authorities to "allow civil society organizations to continue their work in support of Egypt's transition" following the toppling of president Hosni Mubarak in February.