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Crowd gathers outside the Dorchester to protest anti-LGBT laws

08 April 2019 by
Crowd gathers outside the Dorchester to protest anti-LGBT laws

Protesters gathered outside the Dorchester hotel in London's Park Lane on Saturday to demonstrate against strict Islamic laws introduced in Brunei last week that make gay sex and adultery punishable by stoning to death.

The Dorchester Collection of nine hotels is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, the sovereign wealth fund of the Sultan of Brunei.

At its peak about 100 people joined the protest. Speaking to the BBC, organiser Peter Tatchell called for a boycott of all businesses owned by the Sultan following the implementation of the "brutal" new laws, but he added: "Our beef is not with the Dorchester and its staff, the beef is with the Sultan."

Tatchell was joined by shadow foreign and commonwealth affairs secretary, Emily Thornberry, in calls for all diplomatic, military and economic ties to Brunei to be cut and for the state to be thrown out of the Commonwealth.

Police were present at the protest, which was described as "calm" in news reports.

The implementation of the laws prompted calls for a boycott of the Dorchester Collection's hotels from figures including George Clooney and Elton John. The company was previously hit by a boycott by prominent members of the fashion, media and travel industries following the implementation by the Sultan of a series of harsh Islamic laws in 2014.

Last week abuse directed at the staff of Dorchester Collection hotels led to the closure of the group's social media accounts.

In response the company said that it understood people's anger and frustration, but explained that the issue was a political and religious one that "we don't believe should be played out in our hotels and amongst our 3,650 employees… Our values are far removed from the politics of ownership.

"We are a team of people representing 67 nationalities, who love what we do and care enormously for our guests and communities."

It added: "Dorchester Collection's Code emphasises equality, respect and integrity in all areas of our operation, and strongly values people and cultural diversity amongst our guests and employees."

Social media accounts of Dorchester Collection hotels shut down>>

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