Protesters demonstrate against el-Sissi's visit to France

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A woman holds a placard as she stages a protest against the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi by the National Assembly in Paris, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. French President Emmanuel Macron acknowledged Monday "disagreements" with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi over human rights, but said it will not prevent France from reaching economic and defense deals with the North African country, which has seen the heaviest crackdown on dissent in its modern history. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS – French protesters and human rights activists demonstrated outside the National Assembly in Paris on Tuesday in opposition to the state visit of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi even though he wasn't inside.

El-Sissi's visit is in its second and final day. The protesters, who carried placards reading “Egypt, Human Rights Emergency,” were also angry at French President Emmanuel Macron for rolling out the red carpet to the Egyptian leader, whom they view as a human rights abuser. Egypt has cracked down severely on political dissent in recent years.

Macron welcomed el-Sissi at the Elysee Palace. The leaders held robust discussions on issues such as human right issues in addition to fighting terrorism, the conflict in Libya and other regional issues.

Macron previously acknowledged “disagreements” with his Egyptian counterpart, such as in the sphere of human rights, but he said it would be no obstacle to economic and defense deals with the North African country.

Despite human rights groups’ criticism, el-Sissi signed contracts with French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Tuesday for French development aid and hospital and transport cooperation.