A mysterious bid was issued to hire 500 paid "protesters" during the Qatari leader’s visit to Britain.
It is still not known exactly who made the request through a British casting agency – or whether the crowd was meant to be for or against the Emir of Qatar.
But it led to part-time actors and movie extras being asked to "fill space" outside Downing Street for £20 a head.
Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is due to meet Theresa May at No10 today to strengthen ties between the UK and the Gulf.
The request was sent through a casting agency called Extra People, which told its e-mail list: "This is NOT a film or TV production.
"The company are looking for a large group of people to fill space outside Downing Street during the visit of the president of Quatar [sic].
"You will not have to do or say anything, they just want to fill space."
After a backlash yesterday, Extra People said a "junior" staff member had accepted the request from a separate firm in an "error of judgement".
The casting agency cancelled the request and informed its lawyers.
Extra People named the firm which made the original request as Neptune PR Ltd, which was only set up three months ago and is registered at the same address as a virtual office hub in London’s Old Street.
A person answering the phone at the virtual office firm told the Mirror there were no other companies based permanently in the building, and no companies signed up to its services would be physically based there.
The Mirror has attempted to contact Neptune PR’s only director for comment.
A senior representative at Extra People told the Mirror: "Initially we were asked to supply 500 people to ‘fill the space’ at an event.
"It was not made clear whether it was pro or anti and not much information as given.
"Due to the numbers involved and short space of time, the booker in question made a lapse in judgement and began servicing the job without looking for more information or consulting management.
"As soon as we as a company became aware that it was a political demonstration, we immediately withdrew wanting no further part in this.
"If anyone is there today demonstrating, then they have not been sourced via Extra People."
A Qatari diplomat pointed the finger at neighbouring Gulf states who became locked in a diplomatic crisis with Qatar last year.
The diplomat told The Guardian: "The blockading countries have a long history of using paid protesters to try and discredit those who do not agree with their views.
"Despite their latest attempts to spread lies about Qatar, the visit of HH the Emir has further strengthened the historic and strategic partnership between Qatar and the UK."
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