Activists from Egypt Solidarity, Campaign Against Arms Trade and Platform unfurled a giant banner at Downing Street today to mark the launch of a campaign against the official visit of Egyptian president Abdelfattah el-Sisi to the UK. The call for protests against the visit is also backed by the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Union Solidarity International, MENA Solidarity, leading figures from the National Union of Students including Piers Telemacque and Malia Bouattia, UCU union president Liz Lawrence and former NUT union president Mary Compton.
The launch for the campaign took place on the second anniversary of the killing of 51 protesters outside the Republican Guards Headquarters in Cairo by Egyptian security forces, just days after the military coup against Mohamed Morsi.
Sarah Waldron from Campaign Against Arms Trade called on Cameron to stop selling arms to Sisi’s regime and cancel the visit:
The UK should be condemning the appalling human rights abuses that have taken place under Sisi’s rule; instead this visit will bolster his brutal regime. We’re calling on the UK government to withdraw the invitation and stop supporting the regime with weapons sales.
Mika Minio-Paluello from Platform said:
The UK government is supporting the Egyptian regime hand in iron fist. Egyptian activists are being jailed and tortured in the thousands, but Cameron wants to throw out the red carpet for Sisi to boost profits for oil corporations like BP. We stand with those demanding democracy and an end to military rule.”
Andy Reid from PCS union and Egypt Solidarity added:
It is disgraceful that David Cameron is prepared to welcome Sisi to the UK. This is a man who is directly responsible for the death of over 1000 people at Raba’a Square. Anyone who protests is a target for repression, from Muslim Brotherhood activists to the revolutionary left. Workers protests are being routinely crushed and the army justifies shooting dead strikers in the name of “fighting terrorism”. We are calling on the trade union and student movements to stand with us in protesting against Sisi’s visit.”
Read more on the visit and what you can do to build support for the campaign here.