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Human Rights activists gathered near the Royal Palace in the Belgian capital, Brussels, on Wednesday to demonstrate against Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi who is attending the EU – African Union summit.

The activists from Amnesty International want EU leaders to put pressure on the Egyptian government.

“We are here today to send a clear message that the rights and lives of the Egyptian people, must come before deepening ties with this oppressive regime. This is an important moment to hold president Al-Sisi to account for his human rights commitments and also to speak on behalf of the people of Egypt who are imprisoned, silenced and repressed for calling for their rights”, said Eve Geddie, director of the European office of Amnesty International.

The Egyptian president was due to meet with the King of Belgium and the country’s prime minister.

One of the protesters had a message to the authorities.

”I’m actually here because the president who is keeping my partner imprisoned is being received by the Belgian king and by the prime minister. So that’s why we are standing here, to be loud about what’s happening now in Egypt regarding human rights. It’s not accepted and cannot continue and relations cannot just be unconditional with Egypt”, said Souheila Yildiz, girlfriend of emprisoned Egyptian student Ahmed Samir.

According to Amnesty International, there are 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt.

It is the first time that African and EU leaders meet in a summit since 2017.

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