Hundreds took the streets outside the Dorchester Hotel in London Saturday, following implementation of a new penal code in Brunei. The Sultan of Brunei, who owns the umbrella company that the Dorchester Hotel operates under, signed off on a new legislation, that allows for those convicted of sodomy or adultery to be stoned to death, those convicted of lesbianism to be whipped, and those convicted of theft to have their limbs amputated.
On Thursday, four activists staged an initial demonstration during the hotel's afternoon tea. There, after being seated to order, they stood up with megaphones and signs, alerting other patrons of the existing calls to boycott the establishment.
"In case you haven't heard, there's a boycott of the Dorchester Hotel," Jordan Tannahill said. "On April 3, the Sultan of Brunei announced stoning, by death, as a new punishment of homosexuality and adultery. We do not condone the brutality of our LGBT sisters and brothers in Brunei." Ellen Degeneres, Sir Elton John, George Clooney, and Bobby Berk had previously called for the boycott. Billie Jean King has since joined as well. A few of the hotels in the Dorchester Collection, which owns the Dorchester Hotel, have deleted their social media profiles as a result.
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Saturday's protest featured shouts of "shame on you" and "Gay Rights, Human Rights" according to The Guardian as well as a variety of signs. The hotel had set up barriers for protestors, who at one point crossed the barricades, getting into the lobby of the hotel.
On Sunday, Voices 4 also held a protest in New York City, standing in solidarity. Bob the Drag Queen livestreamed the event on Instagram. Marti Gould Cummings, Adam Eli, and Jason Rosenberg were amongst the speakers. Other drag queens like Milk were also in attendance.
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The United Nations has urged Brunei to repeal the new laws, which they've called an "extreme and unjustified" violation of human rights.
The Secretary-General of the British commonwealth has also called for the protectorate to roll back the code. "I have communicated my concern to the Government of Brunei, strongly urging it to reconsider the introduction of the punishments under the new Penal Code which, if implemented in its current form, will potentially bring into effect cruel and inhuman punishments which contravene international human rights law and standard," Baroness Patricia Scotland told I News. Brunei has been a part of the Commonwealth since 1984 which abides by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Scotland went on to say she was willing to help revise the laws.
Britain's official health and safety organization has also paused their assistance to Brunei in the wake of the law change. The pause came after pressure from the organization's unions.
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