Posted at 21:58 on 26 Jan 2009 by Pandora / Blake
Shamefully, I'd never been to Parliament Square before. I followed Penny's confident lead as we got the bus from Leicester Square, and dashed across the busy roads to the island in the centre, which as far as I could tell has no legal crossing to it. At first glance, the CAAN protest seemed to be huge - it took me a minute to figure out that most of what I was seeing was the demos against violence in Sri Lanka and Gaza, and Brian Haw's infamous seven-year peace protest against the war in Iraq. Next to the stalls and placards about human rights atrocities, our cause seemed a little petty.
But there were already a healthy crowd of kinksters, and over the next three hours the group expanded impressively. It was great to see Amy again, and various other friends in the goth/alternative scene. Once I'd arrived D. pointed out to me the gorgeous, young-looking redhead standing out from the crowd. "Can we take her home?" he quipped, slipping an arm around my waist. Spotting cute boys and girls is a favourite pastime of ours.
"Sure!" I grinned, not realising that the young lady we were so cheerfully perving over was in fact Irelynn. I didn't recognise her until she came up and introduced herself. (I think she deserves a prize for making it to the demo on her own from the other end of the country, even braving the terror of London buses in the process.) She is, of course, even lovelier in person, and an interesting internal battle between my protective instincts and wicked thoughts ensued. But I managed to behave myself, and not scare her too much. (I hope!)
There seemed to be some internal debate about whether it was better to protest in attention-grabbing outfits, or while seeming as "normal" as possible so as not to alienate passers-by, but I think it was good to have a mix. Our placards attracted quite a lot of attention. Especially mine. I had several compliments on it, mostly from people who looked blankly at me when I made a comment about lolcats, so at least I know it made sense to people who didn't get the geeky internet in-joke. :)
The placards either side of me read: "Get your filthy laws off me" and "The internet is for porn" respectively. Both of which sentiments I heartily endorse. My other favourite slogan of the day was "Make Love Not Laws" - simple but effective.
There seemed to be a healthy number of reporters present, including a camera crew, and a handful of journalists from national press to local student papers. I gave a couple of quotes, but was too shy to do a video interview. I'll be interested to see how many of the articles make it to print.
The Register published a balanced and entertaining response to the new law over the weekend, which gives the sound advice previously published by Backlash a wider audience. I was also heartened to read a couple of sympathetic articles in the Independent after the protests in December. The bill has already been passed: it's too late to change that. But the true test of legislation that's vaguely worded is legal precedent. The only hope we have now is to persuade juries and Justices that there is no correlation between looking at sadistic porn and committing abuse; that depiction harms no-one, and that a hard-line interpretation of this law constitutes an infringement of civil liberties.
In the meantime, I'm going to have a little lie-down and enjoy some of the extreme and violent images which I keep stored in my brain. Big Brother may be watching me masturbate, but the government can't do a damn thing to stop me looking at those.