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US embassy in Cairo shelters pro-democracy workers

In the wake of a December crackdown on NGOs, including several American organisations, some American NGO workers are reportedly seeking shelter in their embassy

Ahram Online, Monday 30 Jan 2012
US embassy
Some American NGO workers are reportedly seeking shelter in their embassy

The US embassy in Cairo has reportedly began sheltering American citizens employed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the Washington Post reported on Monday.

The paper, which cited US and NGO officials as its source, said the embassy were protecting the citizens “amid fears that they could be detained as part of a crackdown on pro-democracy groups.” According to a State Department official interviewed by the paper, a “handful of US citizens have opted to stay in the embassy compound in Cairo while awaiting permission to depart Egypt.”

Last month, military-led authorities raided a number of non-governmental organisations, including several funded by the US government, and imposed travel bans on six American staffers including a son of US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former congressman.

The Washington Post also interviewed an official from the International Republican Institute (IRI), one of the NGOs raided in the December crackdown. He said that his colleagues told him they would seek shelter in the embassy “only as a last resort.”


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