Hun­dreds in Canada rally in fa­vor of women’s top­less rights

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Top­less protesters marched in Waterloo, On­tario Satur­day to de­fend women’s rights to go barech­ested, af­ter three sis­ters were stopped for bi­cy­cling semi-nude.

Hun­dreds turned out for the rally, which was or­ga­nized by sis­ters Tameera, Na­dia and Alysha Mo­hamed, who were ap­proached by po­lice last month in neigh­bor­ing Kitch­ener af­ter they re­moved their shirts in an ef­fort to cool off dur­ing a bike ride.

An of­fi­cer stopped the women and asked them to cover up, and later said he was stop­ping them to make sure their bi­cy­cles were ap­pro­pri­ately out­fit­ted with bells and lights.

The sis­ters filed a com­plaint with the Waterloo Re­gional Po­lice af­ter the in­ci­dent.

One of the three sis­ters who or­ga­nized the demon­stra­tion goes by the stage name Alysha Brilla, and was nom­i­nated this year for a Juno award — Canada’s equiv­a­lent of a Grammy.

Protesters held ban­ners that read “They are boobs not bombs, chill out” and “Nu­dity isn’t sex­ual.”

Waterloo po­lice ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mike Haffner said on Twit­ter Satur­day’s demon­stra­tion was “re­spect­ful, peace­ful, safe.”

The sis­ters in­vited peo­ple to the event on Face­book, la­bel­ing the demon­stra­tion “Bare with Us: Top Free­dom Rally.”

“Women are still not truly free to be top­less in public, with­out fac­ing ha­rass­ment from passersby and in some cases, un­in­formed po­lice of­fi­cers,” a state­ment on the page said.

Or­ga­niz­ers en­cour­aged peo­ple to join the march “in sol­i­dar­ity to sup­port women’s right to be top­less in public, and also to show sup­port for de­sex­u­al­iz­ing women’s breasts.”

Women in On­tario are legally per­mit­ted to bare their breasts in public, ac­cord­ing to leg­is­la­tion passed in 1996.

In June in Guelph, On­tario, an in­ci­dent in­volv­ing a top­less eightyear-old girl sparked sim­i­lar furor af­ter a swimming pool em­ployee asked the young­ster to cover up.

AP

Katie Gosen holds up a sign at the “Bare With Us” rally at the Waterloo Town Square in Waterloo, On­tario on Satur­day, Aug. 1.

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