'Some people got defensive': Anti-spiking protesters boycott city

Protesters took to Prince of Wales Road last night to make a stand against the rise in drink spiking

Protesters took to Prince of Wales Road last night to make a stand against the rise in drink spiking - Credit: Archant

The only activity taking place in Prince of Wales Road last night came from anti-spiking protesters picketing the city's clubs — with "nearly everyone else" respecting the boycott.

Ketts Rebellion, a campaign group involving mainly women and LGBT+ people based in Norwich, descended on Prince of Wales Road on Thursday to demand action over drink and needle spiking from both police and club owners.

There were different incarnations of the protest nationwide.

While Ketts Rebellion campaigners took to the streets to make their voices heard — and be "visible" — members of the movement Girls Night In, first started in Edinburgh, opted to vote with their feet.

They stayed indoors on what is typically the busiest night out for Norwich students.

Young Labour chairwoman, Jess Barnard, helped organise the Prince of Wales Road protest.

jess barnard

Young Labour's chairwoman Jess Barnard helped organise the event - Credit: Jess Barnard

Around 40 people showed up though many were put off by the grim weather.

She said: "It was a decent turnout for the first protest of its kind, so we were quite happy with that number.

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"There was a mix of people of all ages as well as male allies.

"It was good to see that we were really the only people there on that street. We stayed out till about 11.30pm, but it was totally dead.

"There was hardly anyone about and that's quite unusual for a Thursday.

"It seemed as though people respected the boycott and it sent a strong message."

She added: "As we marched around, we spoke to individual bouncers, police and club owners.

"Some people were super receptive and really open to discussions about what venues could do to help protect their customers from spiking.

"But others got really defensive.

Ketts Rebellion campaign group will be distributing fliers to club venues in Prince of Wales Road on Thursday evening

Ketts Rebellion campaign group will be distributing fliers to club venues in Prince of Wales Road on Thursday evening - Credit: Ketts Rebellion

"One person hit back with: "men get spiked by women too."

"I explained that the protest was not about stopping the spiking of women, but stopping spiking altogether.

"Hearing that kind of attitude was a bit disappointing," she went on. 

The campaign group presented flyers with demands to the clubs, calling for training for bar and security staff in all clubs and bars, drug testing facilities and zero tolerance for any forms of abuse or harassment of people on a night out. 

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