Thursday November 5, 2015
(AFP) LONDON - Campaigners opposed to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday blocked the entrance to Downing Street, the London residence of British Prime Minister David Cameron, ahead of a meeting between the two leaders.
Around 200 demonstrators protested against Sisi’s human rights record, but they were outnumbered by those proclaiming support for the Egyptian leader.
Police removed five anti-Sisi protesters dressed in white boiler suits, who lay on the pavement playing dead while blocking the gates to Downing Street.
One had “Freedom” written on his back and another “Human Rights”, while another wore a noose around his neck.
The protesters wore T-shirts with the four-fingered “Rabia” logo, which is associated with those killed in the crackdown on the Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp in Cairo in 2013.
“He took the presidency by the sword, by killing,” said a man who gave his name as Abu Hamza.
“The world must know that he’s a killer and does not deserve the presidency.”
“Why are protesters being arrested when it’s Sisi who should be arrested?” said Anne Alexander of the Egypt Solidarity Initiative
“He shouldn’t be having lunch with the prime minister. He should be in jail.”
They were opposed by a group of around 300 Sisi supporters, who held placards reading: “We love you Sisi” and “Welcome Sisi”.
“Egypt was lost,” said 50-year-old restaurant owner Magdi Khalil.
“We were going on the path of Syria and Libya. Sisi and the army rescued Egypt.”
“Those (anti-Sisi protesters) are liars and traitors,” added an Egyptian policeman who declined to be named.
“They are neither Muslim nor brotherhood. They plant bombs, they attack police. I’m here getting treatment after being shot in the leg.”
Sisi and Cameron were set to talk Thursday on security and the Sinai plane crash, as concerns mount it could have been caused by a bomb.
Britain on Wednesday suspended flights to and from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh due to new information that suggested a “significant possibility” the crash was caused by a bomb.
Sisi’s visit is his first to Britain since he led the Egyptian army’s overthrow of his predecessor Mohamed Morsi and critics have accused Cameron of putting trade interests above human rights.
They accuse Sisi of crushing all opposition in Egypt and jailing thousands of people, from Muslim Brotherhood supporters to secularists and leftists.
*Photo courtesy of AFP
UK: Press Egypt on Rights Crisis (Human Rights Watch)