London protesters slam planned Sisi visit to UK
Hundreds of people have gathered in the British capital, London, to protest against an upcoming visit by Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi to the United Kingdom.
Holding banners and chanting slogans against the Egyptian leader, the protesters gathered outside Downing Street on Wednesday. They slammed the Sisi administration for human rights abuses and crackdown on his opponents in the North African country.
Sisi is due to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron on security cooperation on Thursday.
‘A despot and a killer’
The protesters in London were mainly Egyptian emigrants – some of whom had traveled from as far away as Spain – to voice their anger at the UK’s invitation to the former army chief.
“What we have here is a big no to Sisi and Prime Minister Cameron for his invitation to a despot and a killer. We stand here today to say ‘Shame on you Cameron.’ Not in the name of the honorable British people. Not in the name of the Egyptian people…,” Maha Azzam, the head of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council, told the crowd.
The Egyptian Revolutionary Council is a non-governmental organization that campaigns for democracy in Egypt.
“He (Sisi) has no legitimacy in the eyes of the British people. The free Egyptian people reject Sisi… The message is loud and clear, no to fascism, no to military dictatorship,” she said.
“We don’t want him, he’s a killer,” said a demonstrator, adding, “The person we elected democratically is in jail,” referring to former President Mohamed Morsi.
Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Morsi was ousted in a military coup led by the then military chief and current president Sisi in July 2013.
Rights campaigners and some politicians have also criticized the visit, with Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, saying it showed “contempt for human and democratic rights.” Activists have called on Cameron to press Sisi on human rights.
Cameron’s spokeswoman has defended the meeting, saying that “no issues will be off the table.”