#ShameOnHollande: Social media rips into Hollande's Egypt visit

#ShameOnHollande: Social media rips into Hollande's Egypt visit
2 min read
19 Apr, 2016
French President Hollande's trip to Cairo has sparked anger online over his meeting with the country's president, whose dismal human rights record has come under increasing scrutiny.
Sisi's human rights record has come under increasing scrutiny [Getty]

Social media users have shamed French President Francois Hollande over his visit this week to Egypt's decisive military general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, amid mounting reports of human rights abuses in the north African country.

Hollande was in Cairo on Tuesday to sign 18 deals, including a $1.1 billion purchase of a French military satellite communications system, after Egypt has come under heavy fire from rights groups for allegations of ongoing illegal detentions, forced disappearances and widespread torture of detainees.

During a press conference, Sisi went on the defensive claiming that it was impossible to hold Egypt up to European standards of human rights and repeated long-running claims that "hidden hands" were to blame for the country's political mess.

"The region we live in is very volatile and we should not be judged by European standards because of the circumstances of the region and Egypt," Sisi said.

"We are up against the forces of evil in this region, which are exerting their utmost efforts to heavily shake Egypt's stability. They are attempting to give a wrongful impression regarding events in Egypt," he said.

He had been asked by a French journalist about the deaths of Italian student Giulio Regeni and French teacher Eric Lang.

      Hollande met with Sisi on Tuesday

"If it wasn't for Egypt's civilisation, we would have ended up like Syria, Libya and Yemen," Sisi added.

The visit has unsurprisingly drawn much criticism online, Twitter users used the hashtag #ShameOnHollande to voice their anger at the French president.

"Speaking about democracy and supporting a bloody military coup!! What a hypocrite," said Amr Hamza.

Another Twitter user said: "Please check your hand, you might have some traces of blood after shaking Sisi's hand."

One user, going by the moniker Egypt Patriot agreed: "Shame on Hollande for supporting criminality and corruption."

Human rights groups in France have also warned Hollande over the controversial visit.

"We are calling on the French authorities to take on the issue of human rights in Egypt. Shying away from this on the pretext of strategic and military interests could lead to heavy responsibility for the French government," the Federation of Human Rights Organisations said in a statement on the eve of the visit.

On a lighter note, the French press has ripped into the Egyptian army band for its "massacring" of the French national anthem. Last year, the same happened when the band attempted to welcome Russian President Vladimir Putin.