Outraged LGBTI people and allies showed up in force to protest at The Dorchester Hotel today (6 April).
The high-end London hotel is part of The Dorchester Collection, a group of luxury hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Police lined the doors of the building as the demonstrators broke through the barricades to chants of, ‘shame on you’.
People have stormed the baracades and are now on the doorstep of The Dorchester, chanting 'shame on you' pic.twitter.com/dGHhmynOgw
— Tom Capon (@TomCapon) April 6, 2019
This comes as the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, introduced a new Sharia law penal code in the country on Wednesday (3 April). The law now states gay and bisexual men can be killed by stoning and queer women face public lashings.
Groups representing UK political parties such as the Labour and Green Party took part, as well as the more radical anarchist activists.
Veteran human rights activist Peter Tatchell made a speech to the gathered crowd to rapturous applause. He spoke to journalists at the scene: ‘Death by stoning is a particular heinous crime. It is completely unacceptable.
‘We want to send a message to the British government. We want the British government and all governments over the world to sever diplomatic ties. We’re also appealing to the Royal family.’
Gay Star News spoke to people representing Mosaic LGBTI youth center about why they joined the march: ‘We are here to represent Mosaic in boycotting the Dorchester. In my opinion we’re just going backwards.
‘To the people of Brunei: we’re with you and we’re fighting for you and we’re going to make sure your human rights are kept.’
The protest was organized by Green party politician Benali Hamdache.
Hamdache spoke to Gay Star News prior to the protest: ‘Events at the Dorchester are booked by charities, they’re booked by businesses. We need to make it clear to the people booking events at the Dorchester that it isn’t acceptable to use their money to sponsor the brutality of the Sultan of Brunei.