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Last Updated:  Sunday, 16 March, 2003, 10:19 GMT
Protest over sex exhibition
A scene from the Erotica show
The show has been deemed "tawdry" by protesters
A religious group has condemned the planned opening of a sex exhibition in Manchester next week.

The Erotica Festival runs from 21 to 23 March and features more than 80 stalls selling pornographic videos, magazines, DVDs and sex toys.

A show featuring 20 dancers called Torture Garden will also be performed daily at the event at Manchester's G-Mex.

But protesters say it is a disgrace the "tawdry" exhibition should be held in the city at all.

It is all about individual choice and I don't believe people should be stopped from making that choice
Paul Donnelley, Erotica

The exhibition's organisers claim it will feature "everything to do with an adult lifestyle" and brush off criticisms it will corrupt the morals of people in the North West.

Paul Donnelley from Erotica Ltd, which is organising the show, told BBC News Online: "It is all about individual choice and I don't believe people should be stopped from making that choice."

But Dennis Wrigley from Christian organisation Maranatha said it was outrageous the festival should take place in a public building.

"It is an act of irresponsibility to let the G-Mex be used for a sex show," he told BBC News Online.

If people want to go to these kinds of dirty shows, let them go to Soho or a back street
Dennis Wrigley, Maranatha

"For the local authority to allow a show that promotes promiscuity is madness."

Trumpet Call, a part of Maranatha that promotes family values, has already handed out leaflets and put up posters calling for the show to be stopped.

He said Maranatha had more than 10,000 members across the UK, and believed he had the majority of people in Manchester on his side.

"I believe in freedom and we live in a free country.

"But if people want to go to these kinds of dirty shows, let them go to Soho or a back street."

Ticket sales

But Mr Donnelley said the exhibition was already proving popular.

"Judging by the thousands of tickets we have sold, I think our position will be vindicated," he said.

Erotica has been operating since 1997, but this is the first time the exhibition will travel outside London.

In a statement, David Mallard, general manager of G-Mex said: "As with any event that could be construed as controversial we have to consider all implications before making a decision.

"Following assurances from the organiser on the age limit and show content - plus the fact that nothing will be visible from the outside to inadvertently cause offence to the general public - we have agreed to the show being held at the venue."

Mr Mallard said anyone wanting to attend the show will have to provide proof of their age.


SEE ALSO:
Oldham's sex emporium
16 Mar 03 |  England
Police offered private sex show
22 Nov 02 |  England


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