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Public Nudity - the Lobbyists

In many countries it is against the law to be naked in public. Even if the legal system doesn't expressly forbid it, other laws such as "breaching the peace" are used against those who go nude in public.

There are a number of organizations who are lobbying governments to change the law about nudity and who work to raise awareness that "nude isn't rude."

One of these is the Body Freedom Collaborative. They advocate nudity as a basic human right and push for "the ethical treatment of humans in their natural state." One of the ways they raise consciousness about the issue is to conduct "nude stunts" in public places. One of the well reported stunts involved a group of body activists getting naked in front of London's Law Courts. Well known activist Vincent Bethell scaled a lamppost and removed his clothes. It took police several hours to get him down and arrest him.

The Experience Nakedness Project encourages people to get nude in everyday situations. They call it "civil nudification". It also arranges recreational nudity in non-nude areas.

Free Bodies is an Australian group who advocate a change in law. Interestingly, they tell the story of a nude picnic and protest was disrupted violently by ex-Italian army soldiers and ended in assault. When the now-clothed protesters called the Melbourne police, the officers were more interested in arresting the men for obscene exposure than dealing with the violent offenders.

Often the media treat these protests as quirky items for everyone to laugh about, but those involved are very serious. At present it seems unlikely that any laws will change in the near future.

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