Egyptian protesters in Montreal called for president El-Sisi's removal
Published Saturday, September 21, 2019 6:58PM EDT Last Updated Monday, September 23, 2019 2:18PM EDT
Protesters from Montreal's Egyptian community joined others around the world who are calling for Egypt's President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi to step down.
However, Ahmed Abu Zeid, Egypt's ambassador to Canada, reached out to CTV News Montreal to dispute the motives and legitimacy of the protesters and the demonstration's organizers.
Egyptian protesters flocked to the nation's capital city Cairo on Friday, and in Montreal, where protesters pointed to a list of problems since El-Sisi's election in 2014, including a lack of democracy.
"The people are really suffering," said Montreal protest organizer Ehab Lotayef. "The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The situation is getting really critical for the masses of the Egyptian people."
But Ambassador Abu Zeid criticized media who covered the protests in Canada for "sensationalism," and said the protests were the handiwork of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group which the government of Egypt has declared a terrorist organization.
He said the Brotherhood is "falsifying facts and concealing realities about economic and social progress in Egypt that is well recognized by the IMF, World Bank and Egypt’s international partners to defend their lost battles and rejection by the Egyptian people."
Abu Zeid said that "hundreds of fake accounts were recently created on social media, fraud(ulent) videos were shared to manipulate public opinion and demonstrations were staged to portray that Egyptians are taking to the streets expressing their dissatisfaction."
For his part, Lotayef said the demonstrators hoped that such protests would bring about real change in Egypt and its government, and insisted that the people there are suffering.
"The number of people that were put in prison count in the tens of thousands, mostly without trial," said Lotayef. "Death sentences have been issued without any real consideration of justice."
"This gives a boost to people living in very difficult conditions, and suffering for every word they say," said Lotayef.
More protests are planned across the globe in the coming months, Lotayef added.