Oxfam Partner Offices Attacked in Cairo

More evidence that the situation is rapidly deteriorating.  This just landed in my inbox

Offices of Egyptian human rights groups supported by Oxfam raided by military police

The offices of two Egyptian human rights organisations in Cairo supported by Oxfam in Cairo have been attacked today and several staff members arrested by the Military Police.

The offices of Hisham Mubarak Law Center and the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights were raided at 14:30 and eight people were arrested including both directors, Ahmed Seif, director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center and Khaled Ali, director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights.

They have been taken to an unknown location in Cairo.

Catherine Essoyan, Oxfam Regional Manager for the Middle East and Maghreb:

“We are extremely worried about the fate of these human rights defenders who have been providing critical legal aid and support to their people over the past days of protest. We deplore this assault against Egyptian civil society organisations dedicated to promoting respect for the rule of law. We call for the safe and immediate release of those detained.”

What is particularly significant is that the attackers were uniformed military police. These are not “pro-regime thugs” that we saw hurling rocks and fire bombs in Tahrir square yesterday. Rather, they are members of the military/security establishment.  Needless to say, this is further evidence that the regime is determined to step up attacks on civil society as part of a wider crackdown that seems to be underway today–a crackdown that has so far targeted several journalists.   This is not a good sign at all.