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Vancouver women asked to go topless

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Women go topless at English Bay in 2011. (REUTERS)

Women go topless at English Bay in 2011. (REUTERS)

“If a man can be topless walking along Robson Street, then women can do the same.”

So says Denise Belisle, the Vancouver organizer of the GoTopless event that takes place Sunday to call for equal rights for women and men.

Belisle said going topless is legal in B.C., but most who do it are shunned — police are even called sometimes.

This can happen when women are breastfeeding in public, sunbathing, swimming, or they just want to take their shirt off when it’s hot out.

“Why would they call the police in the first place? They are called so they have to show up,” she said.

“I know I’m not going to get arrested, I know I’m not going to get charged — I know it’s within my rights.”

Belisle said the event is timed on the Sunday closest to Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26. The march starts at 1 p.m. on the corner of Denman and Robson in downtown, moving towards the lawn of the Vancouver Art Gallery where a rally will be held.

The movement is also calling on the federal New Democrats and Liberals to take on their cause. Letters were sent to Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau this past week.

There was no word of any reply yet Thursday.

“It’s not just about female equality, it’s about the Constitution — equal rights for all means equal rights for all, whether you’re a woman or a man,” Belisle said.


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