Waterloo women celebrate their right to go topless
WATERLOO, ONT. — A rally and march organized by three sisters who were stopped by a police officer for biking topless a week ago was held Saturday in Waterloo, Ont.
Dozens of topless women — and men — attended the trio’s “Bare With Us” rally at Waterloo Town Square, meant to educate the public about women’s right to be topless if they so choose.
Local media reports say people were waving placards, banners and sporting body paint with messages including “everyone has the right to NOT be harassed” and “Bare With Us! They’re just boobs!”
Juno-nominated musician Alysha Brilla says she and her sisters Nadia Mohamed, 24, and Tameera Mohamed, 22, were not wearing shirts while cycling in nearby Kitchener on July 24 when a male officer drove up beside them and told them to cover up because it is the law.
Brilla, 26, says told the officer he was wrong, adding that when she started filming the interaction on her cellphone, the officer said he had only wanted to check if the women had proper bells and lights on their bicycles.
Waterloo Regional Police said last week they would conduct a review into why an officer pulled over the three topless female cyclists.
“It’s not an illegal thing to do,” Staff-Sgt. Mike Haffner said Tuesday. “It’s the law,” Haffner said. “If people choose to go topless, they can do it.”
A 1996 appeal court ruling granted women the right to bare their breasts in public in Ontario after Gwen Jacob, a 19-year-old University of Guelph student, was charged with committing an indecent act when she walked home shirtless on a hot summer day five years earlier.
A similar incident in June garnered headlines after 8-year-old Marlee McLean was told by city staff in Guelph to cover up while she was in a wading pool wearing only a swim bottom.
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