Protests against the official state visit by anti-gay Saudi dictator, King Abdullah, to Britain are planned in London this week
“Gordon Brown rightly refuses to meet Zimbabwe’s dictator, Robert Mugabe, but he happily welcomes to Downing Street the Saudi tyrant, King Abdullah. It is double standards,” said human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, in reaction to the visit.
“The Saudi regime is guilty of detention without trial, torture and public beheadings. Political parties, trade unions and non-Muslim religions are banned. Women not allowed to vote or drive a car. Gay people are flogged and executed. The country is a theocratic police state.”
Tatchell will be joining protestors on Tuesday as King Abdullah passes down The Mall, en route to Buckingham Palace.
“Despite these shocking human rights abuses, the Queen has invited King Abdullah to stay with her at Buckingham Palace. Our head of state should not be entertaining a serial human rights abuser,” he said.
The demonstration will protest against British arms sales to Saudi Arabia and demand a re-opening of the Serious Fraud Office inquiry into the bribery of senior Saudi officials.
Another protest on Wednesday, outside the Saudi Embassy in London, has been called to oppose British support for the regime and “to stop our foreign policy being dictated by the oil and defence industries,” said protest co-organiser, Owen Jones.
“Saudi Arabia has exported religious fundamentalism and terrorism around the world. It should be designated a pariah state. Instead, we are giving an oil-rich, pro-western despot the red carpet treatment. It is especially disgraceful that a Labour government is backing this blood-stained regime,” said Tatchell.