Protest aims to strip club of licence

first_imgThe decision to grant Thirst Lodge a lap-dancing licence has provoked widespread protest in Oxford.Following the motion at OUSU Council to condemn the licence, a ‘Boycott Thirst Lodge’ group was set up on Facebook. The group already has almost 800 members.St Ebbe’s Church has organised a protest against Thirst Lodge’s licence to hold lap dancing at the venue.The protest, which will be held at Bonn Square this Saturday, 20th February, at 2.15pm, has been backed by OUSU. OUSU President, Stefan Baskerville, circulated an email encouraging everyone to attend the protest “and stand with others in your local community.”Lucy Bannister from St Ebbe’s Church stated that “the aim of this protest is to raise awareness of the lap dancing licence that Thirst lodge has been granted. We have found many local people are shocked at the decision by the council to award the licence to somewhere so close to the church and the centre of town.”She further expressed hope that many people would come to the protest to show the council that the local community do not want lap dancing to take place locally.St Ebbe’s was also involved in handing out flyers and getting shoppers to sign a petition against the licence in Oxford city centre last Saturday.In addition to the protests, an online petition calling for the licence to be revoked was set up by the Facebook group. The petition has been backed by OUSU who circulated a link to it in their email to all undergraduates. The petition has so far attracted over 570 signatures.The bulk of opposition to the lap dancing licence is on the basis of research that claims to show a link between increased violence and harassment of women in areas where lap dancing clubs have opened. The petition website also claims that there is a link between lap dancing clubs and the number of reported rapes and sexual assaults in the area.The continuing controversy over Thirst Lodge led the Oxford Union to hold an emergency debate on the issue. The debate was entitled “This House believes that how Thirst Lodge decides to do its business is none of our business” and was held before the Scotland debate on Thursday night.The pre-trial hearing for the appeal against the decision to grant Thirst Lodge a licence for lap dancing is on the 26th of February. In the appeal the council will have to consider strength of local opposition to the plans. Those opposing the plans hope that with the awareness raised by the combination of the petition and protest the voice of the local community will be powerful enough to overturn the licence.last_img read more