Protesters are organizing a demonstration outside the Sultan of Brunei’s London hotel to send a message about laws which would punish same-sex activity with death.
Hundreds of people are expected at the demonstration outside the world-famous Dorchester Hotel, in Mayfair, London, this Saturday. It will be hosted from 2pm to 4pm.
Organizers hope this will shine a light on Brunei, who are adopting Sharia Law this week. The law makes same-sex activity punishable by public flogging for women and death by stoning for men.
Hassanal Bolkiah is one of the richest men in the world – the Sultan’s net worth was estimated at $20 billion in 2011, according to Forbes – and is also the owner of the Dorchester Collection. These high-end hotels across the globe attract socialites, celebrities and charities alike.
The organizer of the protest, Benali Hamdache, a Green party candidate for the London Assembly List, hopes the protest will encourage people to stop booking the lavish spaces for events.
Hamdache told Gay Star News: ‘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.
‘It’s also about getting people who are staying at the hotel to see what they are doing. Hopefully people will realize it’s a less desirable place to spend the weekend.’
Attracted the authorities’ attention
However, the demonstration has already garnered attention. According to Hamdache, police contacted him after the Embassy of Brunei in London flagged the protest.
Gay Star News has reached out to the Metropolitan police for comment.
The Dorchester Collection only released a general statement when contacted by Gay Star News for comment: ‘Dorchester Collection’s code emphasizes equality, respect and integrity in all areas of our operation, and strongly values people and cultural diversity amongst our guests and employees. Inclusion and diversity remain core beliefs as we do not tolerate any form of discrimination.’
Despite this, the message behind the protest is clear – any regime that puts LGBTI lives in danger should not be welcomed or supported in the British capital.
‘It’s about what you can influence. The Dorchester is a huge symbol, we’ve got a clear target we can influence in London,’ Hamdache added
‘We should be doing a lot to make sure dirty money tainted by blood and unpleasantry should be seen outside of London. We should make sure we are not sustaining the worst regimes in the world.’