Face-sitting protest outside parliament against new porn rules

Sex workers and campaigners gather to demonstrate opposition to changes to UK pornography regulations

Sex workers and campaigners have gathered in front of parliament to protest against changes to UK pornography regulations.

Organiser Charlotte Rose called the restrictions ludicrous and said they were a threat to freedom of expression.

Protesters say the list of banned activities includes face-sitting, and campaigners planned to carry out a mass demonstration of this while singing the Monty Python song Sit On My Face.

These activities were added to this list without the public being made aware, Charlotte Rose said. Theyve done this without public knowledge and without public consent.

There are activities on that list that may be deemed sexist, but its not just about sexism, its about censorship. What the government is doing is taking our personal liberties away without our permissions.

Protesters outside parliament. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

The protest comes after the government said a list of sex acts has been banned from online porn videos filmed in the UK, in a bid to crack down on harmful content.

A quiet change in legislation has ruled that paid-for online porn videos must now adhere to the same rules as content produced for sex shop-type videos.

It means acts that would not be classified as an R18 rating, in line with guidelines laid out by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), are prohibited.

The list of around 10 acts reportedly range from spanking to strangulation.

Critics argue the change not only damages the countrys porn industry, with online viewers still able to access content banned in the UK by watching videos filmed abroad, but amounts to arbitrary censorship.

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulation 2014 came into effect this month.

Mistress Absolute, 39, a professional dominatrix and fetish promoter, said the law was restrictive.

I felt that this was the beginning of something to creep into my sexual freedom and sexual preferences.

This is a gateway to other laws being snuck in.

Protesters outside parliament. Photograph: Vianney Le Caer/Rex Features

Her friend Neil Rushton, 33, a mature student, said: Theyre very sexist laws. These are very geared towards womens enjoyment as opposed to mens.

The pair will take part in the mass face-sitting this afternoon.

Justin Hancock, a sex educator who runs the website Bish UK, said: Often the same filters that block these websites block my website, so I suffer from the same kind of censorship issues that the porn industry does.

This particular regulation will not prevent one person from seeing any porn that they cant already see elsewhere anyway.

Them using the argument around sex and young people is completely specious.

Its moralising. Its about saying as a society what kind of sex is okay.

Hancock also warned that the state is trying to take control of the internet.

Obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman, Jerry Barnett from Sex and Censorship and Jane Fae from the Consenting Adult Action Network were among those making speeches at the protest.

Fae called the changes heteronormative, and said: What is being clamped down on is any kind of online content made by adults who are consenting.

This is entrenching big business.

Protesters chanted: What do we want? Face-sitting! When do we want it? Now!

Participants wearing gimp masks used mats and blankets to act out face-sitting.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2014/dec/12/face-sitting-protest-outside-parliament-against-new-porn-rules

So Trumps too scared to come to the UK. Who says protest doesnt work? | Hugh Muir

If he cant bomb it or tweet against it, the US presidents cupboard of responses seems bare. We may be denied a spectacle, then, but saved a distraction

How might President Trump react to a world leader who, afraid for his image, perhaps afraid for himself, refused to fulfil a promise to visit a loyal ally. He might fire off a tweet: RAN from critics. A gift for crooked MSM. TOTAL pathetic loser!

But he wont, because the loser is him. He got to hold hands with Theresa May when she visited Washington, but alas, that may be the high point of his cuddle-fest with her, and with us because Trump, it now appears, is not keen on making his proposed state visit to Britain any time soon.

He has apparently, in a recent telephone call to the prime minister, declared that he does not want to come if there are to be large-scale protests. The visit, we are told, is on hold.

Some may be surprised by this. From the violence and menace that became features of his ugly campaign, it was easy to assume that he liked a bit of edge at his public appearances. But on those occasions, he knew he would always have the support of far-right thugs and hangers-on who could drown out dissent and, if need be, throw a few punches at protesters, passers-by, anyone who would dare to question him. That intimidation, unprecedented in recent history, would have been more difficult to replicate here; he could hardly bring his street fighters with him. There are only so many seats on Air Force One.

Maybe he didnt fancy the trip without Theresa there to hold his hand; to keep him strong and stable, as it were. Even he might blanch all the way from Tango orange to the whitest white at the idea of skipping through the Downing Street rose garden hand in hand with Phil the spreadsheet Hammond or Boris Johnson.

So we may be denied a spectacle then but will hopefully be saved from the distraction of Trumps bandwagon when we may be fixating on at least one more general election, and we should certainly be focusing on the history-defining implications of Brexit.

Saved too for now at least the embarrassment of those who offered Trump the invitation in the first place, those who saw our new place in the world as lying at the feet of a reprobate.

And what do we learn from this? Once again we see what it is to deal with someone who has such high office and such thin skin. Just the notion of turbulence that might be seen around the world seems to be enough to scare him off. If he cant bomb it or tweet against it, the cupboard of responses seems bare.

But, for the more important message, look to ourselves. It is easy to question the efficacy of protest. Millions marched against the war in Iraq, but couldnt stop it. Millions more marched against Brexit and cuts in the NHS. There is rarely such a direct link to be drawn between public action and response from those with power, but each public protest speaks to the strength and tenor of opinion. Every one sets out a position and raises the stakes. Here the stakes became too high for a brittle, image-conscious president in Washington. What do we want? Not Trump. When do we want him? Never.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/11/trump-scared-uk-protest-us-president