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    First Published: December 2002
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.
A campaign's been launched to save FIST, one of London's most popular fetish nights. Local Police say FIST's playroom has to close and that sex on the premises muststop. Promoter Suzi Krueger refused to make changes to the night and has announced the last ever FIST is to be on Saturday 14th December.

Southwark councillor Richard Porter has joined the fight to save FIST and he says a police undercover operation to expose the club was "illogical, inconsistent and apparently motivated by institutional homophobia".

The news of FIST's closure first broke when Suzi sent an email to club regulars. Local police had apparently been gathering evidence for some months that sex had been taking place on the club's premises.

What has happened is that a 'concerned' citizen wrote a letter to various governing bodies about the activities that were taking place at FIST. I only found this out a few days ago............. We were told that these activites had to stop. So I have decided to close the club because I do not want to run a watered down version of what FIST is about. This is a real shame and I am VERY sad to have to do this and I can't believe that somone out there wanted to ruin the best gay fetish club that London has. I feel the closing is for the best.

Richard Porter the local councillor with responsibility for community safety in Southwark says:

"I was deeply disturbed to hear of the undercover operation the police had undertaken at the club. We must remind ourselves that Fist has been open for nine years, five of those in Camberwell, without incident. It amazes me that as a result of one complaint, the club must now close.

Surely what consenting adults get up to on private property is a matter for them and the police should not seek to get involved. For me, this is a matter of fundamental human rights.

I have had several conversations with the police and it is regrettable that they will not negotiate with us with regard to the continuation of the club."

There've been rumours that the original complaint which caused all the trouble came from a rival promoter but Suzi says there's no proof even though the owner of the Imperial Gardens venue, where FIST takes place, is convinced they know the complainant's identity.

Whatever you think of FIST and whatever your view on backrooms, it's hardly a shock to discover that sex has been taking place at FIST. At a time when the law's being changed to decriminalise sex in public places where it's unlikely to offend, we can't understand why the local Police haven't got better things to do than send officers to watch men having sex in a private club on a Saturday night. Next year millions are being spent to promote London as a world-class gay destination with an unbeatable nightlife. What's the point, if the Police are going to behave like this?

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