Activists stage anti-Saudi protest in London as Qatari emir arrives for talks
As the Qatari emir visits the UK, a group of activists have staged a protest rally to condemn the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar as well as the Riyadh regime’s deadly war against impoverished Yemen.
The rally was held on Monday as Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani arrived in the UK capital, London, for talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May and other government officials.
The protesters, who were holding anti-Saudi placards, also called on the British government to halt its weapons sales to Riyadh, which has been leading the war against Yemen since 2015.
The protest came amid tensions in the Persian Gulf region, which erupted after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE severed their diplomatic relations with Qatar on June 5 last year, accusing it of sponsoring “terrorism” and destabilizing the region, an allegation strongly denied by Doha.
The quartet of boycotters has also barred Qatari aircraft from using their airspace. Qatar’s only land border with Saudi Arabia has also been blocked as a result.
The Saudi-led bloc then presented Qatar with a list of demands, among them downgrading ties with Iran, and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face consequences.
Doha, however, refused to meet the demands and said that they were meant to force the country to surrender its sovereignty.
Qatar has also said it had too many financial resources at its disposal to be afraid of the financial assault.
Meanwhile, a report says Extra People, a casting agency for supporting artists, walk-ons, extras and crowd for the movie industry, has been offering actors money to take part in an “anti-Qatar event” outside Downing Street during a meeting between May and Sheikh Tamim.
The UK-based independent media corporation has offered £20 per person to participate in the protest from 11 a.m. local until 12.30 p.m. on Tuesday, just before Sheikh Tamim’s arrival.
The agency said it was “contacted by an individual” to “source people” for the event, but refused to reveal the identity of the client.
“The company is looking for a large group of people to fill space outside Downing Street during the visit of the president of Quatar (sic). This is an ANTI-Qatar event – You will not have to do or say anything, they just want to fill space. You will be finished at 12:30,” the casting agency said in an email to its actors.
At 8.15 p.m., shortly after media reports first began to circulate about the job offer, Extra People sent another mass email to its extras saying “on reflection” it would not be involved “in such a project.”
A spokesperson said the agency decided to cancel the project as it came “to understand what the hirer was asking of our artistes and the event involved” after “receiving further information.”
“We quickly made the decision to withdraw our involvement and wish to have no association with the event,” he added.