RIO DE JANEIRO – A group of women partially undressed on Tuesday on Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema beach to demand the right to go topless on Brazilian beaches, something that currently could be deemed an obscene act punishable by between three months and a year in prison.
The protest, in which seven women publicly exposed their breasts for several minutes, attracted a good number of curious passersby and journalists to the iconic Rio beach, which was jammed with people because it is a local holiday.
Reporter Ana Paula Nogueira, who was the person who launched the Topless In Rio movement in 2013 via Facebook, told Efe that the idea was never “to get 8,000 women” to participate in the protest, but rather for “the issue to be discussed.”
The Topless In Rio movement, which held its first public event in December 2013 at the same site, seeks to bring about changes in the law which currently prohibits women from going naked from the waist up, something that many of them feel is an insult since men are not obligated to abide by that rule.
The prohibition on going topless runs counter to the custom for Brazilians – both men and women – to wear bikinis and miniscule bathing suits.
Among the participants in the protest were buxom model and dancer Renata Frisson, known as Mulher Melão, as well as former model Natache Iamaya, who because she suffers from a degenerative disease is confined to a wheelchair.