Community News

Noisy LGBT+ protest outside the Dorchester Hotel

Besi Besemar April 6, 2019

A protest has been held at the Dorchester Hotel in Central London today, (April 6) against Brunei’s new laws, punishing homosexuality with stoning to death.

A CROWD of more than 500 angry protestors made their views know outside the Dorchester Hotel this afternoon managing at one point to brake though the fencing cordon. Emily Thornbury MP, the Shadow Foreign Secretary was one of a number of politicians attending the protest.

THE Dorchester Hotel is one of a chain owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Since the announcement of the new law, actor George Clooney, Sir Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres and Dua Lipa have called for a boycott of all hotels owned by the Sultan as have some major corporations. Deutsche Bank and estate agent Knight Frank have now banned their staff from staying there.

STA travel will no longer sell flights for the national carrier Royal Brunei Airlines while Virgin have ended a discounted arrangement with the company. There have also been calls for Oxford University to rescind an honorary degree awarded to ruler Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, 72, who is the world’s second-longest reigning monarch.

Organisers of the TV Choice Awards have also pulled their awards event from the prestigious London Hotel and will announce a new venue shortly.

Sky TV estimated the number of protestors at more than 500 with many of them carrying posters saying LGBT+ Lives Matter.

Protest organiser Benali Hamdache called for the Kingdom of Brunei to be kicked out of the Commonwealth, for all military ties with the Kingdom to be reviewed and for the UK Government to break all diplomatic contacts with the Sultan.

He said; “People today want to demonstrate and express their disgust at what the Sultan is doing. The Dorchester is a symbol of his opulence, his wealth, and we want to show that his values have no place in London in the 21st century.

The Dorchester issued a statement, saying they were ‘deeply saddened’ by the current events.

A spokesman said: “Inclusion, diversity and equality are the foundation of the Dorchester Collection. We do not tolerate any form of discrimination, we never have and we never will. We understand people’s anger and frustration but this is a political and religious issue that we don’t believe should be played out in our hotels and amongst our 3,630 employees. Our values are far removed from the politics of ownership.”

Hamdache continued: “The reason the Sultan owns this chain of luxury hotels is to extol the Brand of Brunei, and show off his wealth. Our presence here is to show OUR intolerance and OUR disgust at his barbaric values.”