Dorchester on high alert as divisive Swazi king checks in

London's Dorchester hotel is preparing to receive a much noisier crowd than is normal this evening: human rights protesters objecting to Swaziland's king arriving in London.

The five-star hotel, known for its afternoon tea and £450-a-night double rooms, is erecting metal fences around the front courtyard to corral 100 protesters who condemn the decision to invite King Mswati III of Swaziland to Friday's Royal Wedding.

The head of state and his 50-strong entourage are reportedly staying at the Dorchester, according to South Africa's Mail & Guardian newspaper. He is one of 40 foreign royals invited to the nuptials. The Crown Prince of Bahrain withdrew on Sunday following anger about the shooting of democracy protesters in his kingdom, and a wider crackdown which has included the detention of medical staff who treated injured and dying demonstrators.

Tonight's protest is organised by London-based Swaziland vigil groups and will be piggy-backed by Zimbabwean expatriates joining them in solidarity, angered by the decision to invite Zimbabwe's ambassador to take a seat in the front rows at Westminster Abbey.

The demonstrators want to draw attention to the polygamous autocrat's human rights abuses and corruption. Swaziland is crippled by poverty and has the world's highest prevalence of Aids – one in four adults has HIV/Aids.

Extra hotel security will be bought in to control tonight's protests, expected to start at 6pm, according to the general manager at the Dorchester, Roland Fasel. Adjoining streets may be blocked off if large crowds join the protest, and there will be a police presence. Guests at the hotel may have to show room cards to gain entrance.

"If the protest takes place, we will shield off the hotel in a structured approach," Mr Fasel said. "We will protect the periphery of the hotel with Met police and we will bring in additional security.

"We have heard this will be a peaceful political demonstration and we don't want it to take attention away from all the good things happening this week or the fantastic event that is happening on Friday."

Fungayi Mabhunu, a Zimbabwean who is co-ordinating tonight's protest, said: "Swaziland is one of the poorest countries and the king, Mswati III, is the last absolute monarch in Africa who has been abusing people for the past two decades.

"People in the country are dying of starvation and diseases, but they are paying for a man who has 13 wives and an enormous entourage to attend this wedding and stay at this hotel. This is not right."

Yesterday, guests at the Dorchester welcomed the prospect of a gauntlet of demonstrators outside, although some showed confusion about the subject of the protests. One American tourist, who preferred not to be named, said he thought Swaziland was "the name of a drink", while a Jordanian businessman, Mohamed Aldaoud, was initially convinced that the autocrat in question was in fact the leader of Switzerland.

Further protests are expected this week at the Zimbabwean Embassy, against the invitation to Gabriel Machinga, Zimbabwe's Ambassador to Britain.

Despite the Crown Prince of Bahrain's sudden absence for Kate and William's big day – his seat will not be filled – protests against the brutal suppression of political reformists in the kingdom are still expected to go ahead around the wedding festivities, because of the presence of Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohamed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz. Saudi Arabia has sponsored the crackdown on democracy protesters in Bahrain.

The Metropolitan Police said 5,000 officers would be on duty on Friday. It said it had rejected an application by Muslims Against Crusades to stage a demonstration outside Westminster Abbey, but that static protests could take place outside the designated zone.

Sixty people who had been arrested at previous demonstrations were banned from entering the City of Westminster and would be arrested if seen in the area on the day, the Met said.

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
As Loki in The Avengers (2012)
filmRead Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon on prospect of playing Loki
Voices
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Education Recruitment Consultant- Learning Support

£18000 - £30000 per annum + Generous commission scheme: AER Teachers: Thames T...

All Primary NQT's

£100 - £120 per day + per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Description Calling a...

DT Teacher - Food Technology

£100 - £145 per day + Pension and travel: Randstad Education Maidstone: SUPPLY...

Supply Teachers Needed in Thetford

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers neede...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star