Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah introduced a sharia penal code that makes crimes including adultery, gay sex and abortion punishable by stoning to death. This move is a part of the new set of sharia laws adopted by the South-east Asian country which call for “stronger” Islamic teachings. Homosexuality was already illegal in Brunei and was punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The new laws also include public flogging as a punishment for abortion and amputation for theft, and criminalises exposing Muslim children to beliefs and practices of any religion other than Islam.
In response to Brunei’s harsh laws, celebrities including Ellen DeGenres, Elton John and George Clooney called for boycotting hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei.
Tomorrow, the country of #Brunei will start stoning gay people to death. We need to do something now. Please boycott these hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up. pic.twitter.com/24KJsemPGH
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 2, 2019
Many businesses have moved their events away from the group of hotels and advertisements for tourism to Brunei have been taken down on the London Underground. On April 6, protesters thronged London’s Dorchester Hotel, which has been owned by Brunei’s state-owned investment agency since 1987. Here’s how people protested outside the hotels:
— saranya (@sxranya) April 6, 2019
— Grant Rivers (@SnowAndBeach) April 6, 2019
500 people rallied at Dorchester Hotel London today. Broke through barriers & besieged front doors. Hundreds of rainbow-coloured stones were dumped on hotel’s steps & anti-Sultan slogans were scrawled on the forecourt. A rainbow flag was hoisted above the hotel veranda #Brunei pic.twitter.com/ksoCTGK4XB
— Peter Tatchell (@PeterTatchell) April 6, 2019
— Claire Linacre (@clairelinacre) April 6, 2019
Part of my speech today outside the Dorchester. We’re making it clear the Sultan of Brunei’s brutally homophobic values aren’t welcome here. pic.twitter.com/kYMwYKNA0b
— Benali Hamdache (@greenbenali) April 6, 2019
Protestors have pushed over barriers surrounding the Dorchester Hotel in central London chanting “shame on you” and calling for a boycott of the Sultan of Brunei’s businesses pic.twitter.com/XK3Edv6LlV
— Jon Ironmonger (@JonIronmonger) April 6, 2019