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.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
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
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
News
news
News
i100
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

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn