nnon fire and soldiers welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron in Egypt on Monday.
Such a militaristic welcome may be deemed bitterly appropriate by NGOs as they renew their pressure on Paris' arms sales to Cairo. Since 2011, France has become the main provider of military and security equipment to Egypt, according to Amnesty International. That business has cooled since Macron came to power.
But Amnesty says the equipment has been used in the violation of human rights, particularly in cracking down on protests.>>
> France fed the repression, because between 2012 and 2014, France provided more than 100 armored vehicles.>> Amnesty says there are copious examples of French-supplied Sherpa and MIDS vehicles being used to violently crush dissent.
The Sherpa can be seen here in Cairo on August the 14th, 2013, the day of the Rabaa Massacre, in which hundreds of protesters were killed. That was a month after Sisi engineered a coup to oust former president, Mohamed Morsi.
Five months after Macron came to power, he hosted Sisi, seeing him as a stabilizing force and seeking to bolster business and defense ties. Macron handed Sisi a list of prisoners he wanted released from detention. Three sources aware of the exchange told Reuters Macron was rebuffed. Taken aback, Macron later told the media it was not up to him to lecture Egypt on civil liberties.
But more than a year has passed, and NGOs seeking a tougher line from Macron have warned that a crackdown on freedoms has only worsened. While Macron is still seeking defense in business contracts while in Egypt, he does appear to be taking a tougher stance. On Monday, he told Sisi that stability and security cannot be separated from human rights.