Activists call for investigation and arrest of leader they blame for what they call Egypt’s worst human rights crisis.
London – Officials at Downing Street have faced criticism for preventing some journalists from asking questions to Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The Egyptian leader, who arrived in the UK on Thursday, met David Cameron, the British prime minister, during his first official visit to London.
Following the meeting between the two leaders on Thursday, a small group of journalists were hand-picked and allowed to attend what was described by officials as “a press moment”.
Cameron has come under a lot of criticism for inviting the former general.
Opponents say Sisi should never have been allowed into Britain because of his role in the 2013 massacre of 1,150 protesters in Cairo – an event Human Rights Watch, the international rights watchdog, has previously described as “systematic and widespread”.
“In Rabaa Square, Egyptian security forces carried out one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history,” Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Downing Street from the early morning.
Human rights activists and anti-war protesters gathered together with supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi in denouncing the visit.
Some of them were dressed in body bags and nooses and attempted to block the entrance of Downing street – depicting the hundreds of Egyptians killed or sentenced to death since Sisi’s 2013 overthrow of Morsi.
Another group, mobilised by the Egyptian embassy in London, also gathered in support of the former general.
They held banners reading: “Together against terrorism”. The view of the participants was that Sisi was leading the “fight against terrorism”.