Protesters to picket city's clubland over spiking

.An officer watches Halloween clubbers on Prince of Wales Road

An officer watches Halloween clubbers on Prince of Wales Road, where reports of spiking have been rife - Credit: Neil Perry/Archant

Women, LGBT people and their allies are planning to picket the Norwich's clubbing district on Thursday night in protest at the recent spate of drink and needle spiking.

Members of the Norfolk campaign group Ketts Rebellion — inspired by the namesake's famous rebel revolt in Wymondham in 1549 — will be taking placards, megaphones and fliers listing their demands to the Prince of Wales Road at 10pm tomorrow.

There will be female speakers and artists performing alongside, though everyone is welcome to join.

Incidents of spiking have been increased since clubs reopened in Norwich.

On the weekend of October 25 alone, five people on the Prince of Wales Road reported being spiked by drugs or needles to police

As a result, the campaign group is 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.

One of the organisers, Young Labour chairwoman Jess Barnard, said there was a huge strength of feeling among young women and LGBT people that clubs and bars were no longer "safe spaces".

She explained: "I've never felt apprehensive about walking to meet friends in clubs or bars before but now I do. I don't even feel safe going to the toilet in those places by myself.

"The reason we're picketing and not just staying away altogether is because we want to be visible. We shouldn't have to hide to be safe. 

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"Similar campaign groups, Girls Night In and the Young Activist Network are also supporting the protest."

jess barnard

Jess Barnard is helping organise the protest - Credit: Jess Barnard

Ms Barnard added that it was up to both venue managers and the police to do something about the spikings.

She recalled her own experience of spiking in the run-up to the General Election in 2019.

After climbing down from the stage at a "For The Many" Labour Party gig, she felt someone brush past her and heard something drop into her drink.

The club's bouncer disposed of it and she was escorted by security back to her car.

She said: "If I hadn't been stone cold sober I might not have realised I'd almost been drugged.

"It's a horrible feeling."

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

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