Rights group: Egypt coup stuns democracy trend

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NEW YORK (AP) — Civil rights and liberties around the world declined for the eighth straight year, dragged down by the Egyptian military's coup, Venezuela clinging to authoritarianism and Russia's crackdown on opposition groups, according to a pro-democracy watchdog group.

The erosion of civil liberties and rights in 2013 was also driven by vicious civil wars or terror campaigns in Syria, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, and Yemen, Freedom House said Thursday.

A year ago, the Washington-based Freedom House had pointed to the pro-democratic Arab Spring rallies in Cairo since 2011 as a hopeful sign for reform in Egypt and urged Washington to encourage the trend. This has not been the case.

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