In Pictures: Luton Anti-Circumcision Demo

Tuesday March 22 saw the largest anti-circumcision demonstration in the UK. Intactivists and Men’s Human Rights Activists alike came together to protest against the routine and socially acceptable genital mutilation of unconsenting young boys.

Circumcision, or genital mutilation, of young boys is practiced in surgeries dotted up and down the country. Male Genital Mutilation (MGM), unlike Female Genital (FGM), is neither reviled nor prohibited by society at large. For some bizarre reason the foreskin of a baby boy is not given due consideration.

This, as can be understood, is considered both wrong and reprehensible by many people, myself included, and as we descended upon the Thornhill Circumcision Clinic in Luton to protest their actions and express our disdain at their beliefs. Yet the clinic, despite its Tuesday opening times being 15:30 – 17:30 had bizarrely decided to stay shut when we arrived. Honestly, why would they close if what they are doing is so good it’s worth £150 a pop!?

The act of circumcision, like any assault that causes bodily harm, has been illegal since 1861 under the Offences Against The Person Act yet if performed on adults may be overruled due to consent – however minors cannot consent to such acts.

A comment by Lord Templeton in the case R v Brown [1994] (in which an adult male consented to a nail being driven through his foreskin), though the case was unrelated to child circumcision, paves way for assault and injury to be allowed against a person if the “victim” is consenting.

There can be no conviction for the summary offence of common assault if the victim has consented to the assault. Even when violence is intentionally inflicted and results in actual bodily harm, wounding or serious bodily harm the accused is entitled to be acquitted if the injury was a foreseeable incident of a lawful activity in which the person injured was participating … Ritual circumcision, tattooing, ear piercing and violent sports including boxing are lawful activities”.

Why ritual circumcision is included I do not know, however this statement places ritual circumcision under the umbrella of violent yet lawful activities. For adults who consent this is fine, however children cannot. Alas consent in this circumstance is bizarrely considered parental, that a parent is allowed to consent to a child’s assault on their behalf, hence why parents can sign to have their son circumcised. Would parental consent be allowed as a defence for setting up child boxing rings, I wonder?

FGM however has been specifically targeted and was made illegal under the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985, which was then updated with the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003. As such no specific law exists prohibiting the circumcision of males, despite the act being unquestionably illegal. For further information surrounding the law on male circumcision, check here.


Our full numbers at the end of the day



Mike Buchanan, leader of the political party Justice for Men & Boys, speaking for the camera



At the street corner, bringing the message to those passing by.



Non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is a major human rights violation



Theresa May MP has declined to explain why the police aren’t prosecuting practitioners



Children’s rights! NOT parents rites.



Out delivering flyers to people’s doors



Protesters lined the nearby busy street to spread the message



Many stuck nearby to protest in front the clinic


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