Demonstrators surround Dorchester Hotel over Brunei’s gay sex law

Protest comes after movement against hotels owned by Sultan of Brunei

The front entrance is seen at The Dorchester, owned by the Sultan of Brunei whointroduced strict new Islamic laws that make anal sex and adultery offences punishable by stoning to death. Photograph:  Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty

The front entrance is seen at The Dorchester, owned by the Sultan of Brunei whointroduced strict new Islamic laws that make anal sex and adultery offences punishable by stoning to death. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty

 

Around 100 people have turned out to take part in a protest against Brunei’s anti-LGBT laws in central London.

The protest, led by human rights activist Peter Tatchell, is taking place outside the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane.

Many of the protesters were carrying placards and banners calling for homophobia to be stamped out, as well as rainbow flags.

The protest comes on the back of the growing movement against hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei in response to the nation’s new Islamic criminal laws punishing gay sex by stoning offenders to death.

Barriers had been put up around the front of the hotel and more than 100 people lined the surrounding streets, chanting and holding up signs. Piles of rainbow-coloured stones had been laid on the pavement.

Ahead of the demonstration the University of Oxford said it would reconsider its decision to award an honorary degree to the Sultan.

‘Established process’

In a statement on Saturday, the university said it shared the “international revulsion” of the laws and that the decision to confer the honorary degree of civil law by diploma to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in 1993 would be reconsidered through its “established process”.

But it stressed no one had the right “summarily to rescind it” and added: “We also believe in due process. Just as nobody has a right to confer an honorary degree, nobody has a right summarily to rescind it.

“The decision to confer this degree 26 years ago was recommended by a committee and approved by council and by congregation at the time.

“We will reconsider this decision through our established process in light of the information now available, as other British universities are doing.”

Mr Tatchell said if the Sultan did not revoke the laws the British Government should sever all ties with the regime.

He added: “If the Sultan will not listen to reason and compassion we believe the British Government should sever all diplomatic, economic and military ties with the regime.

“What is shameful is that our royal family puts royal ties before human rights.”

There were cries of “shame” from the crowd when Mr Tatchell said the royal family were not going to sever ties with the regime. – PA