Paddington pub unlikely ‘symbol’ for Sudan activism

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Surprising accusation: the Monkey Puzzle pub was mentioned by a Sudanese pro-government speaker (image: Ewan Munro, Flickr)
Surprising accusation: the Monkey Puzzle pub was mentioned by a Sudanese pro-government speaker (image: Ewan Munro, Flickr)

Related tags: London

A pub in central London has found itself an unlikely character in protests about the ousted Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir.

Sudanese pro-government speaker Hussein Khoujali mentioned the Monkey Puzzle, Paddington, on Sudanese TV.

The pub is under a business partnership tenanted pub within the Hall & Woodhouse pubco.

A military coup removed Bashir from his presidency last week (Thursday 11 April), with activists calling for a civilian leadership to take over.

“There is a bar in London, it’s called the Monkey Puzzle. They sit there in London and plan the demonstrations. The communists are in control of that pub and of all activities.

“They are the ones leading this movement. Now, they have $250m.”

Selfie spot

After this mention, Sudanese activists have visited the pub and taken selfies outside it.

Licensee Gary Griffin told the BBC: “The group of Sudanese meet fairly regularly. I have absolutely no idea what they were talking about. I don’t eavesdrop but also I don’t speak Arabic.”

He was sent an image of Omar al-Bashir superimposed onto the wall above the sign outside the pub, which he called “quite an unflattering image”.

A spokesperson for Hall & Woodhouse said: “We had no awareness of any such activity taking place at the pub; it is a public space and continues to be open as usual.

“We are supporting the business partner and are in regular communication with them about the issue.”

Supported efforts

But Sudanese political activist Maha Suleiman said the local Sudanese population had never even heard of the pub until Khoujali mentioned it.

Suleiman told the BBC: “It is a tool used by [Khoujali].”

She added: “That statement is not true and irresponsible. All the demonstrations in London are supported by our efforts and by donations from the whole Sudanese community in the UK.”

Related topics: Events & Occasions

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