People stage topless protest after sunbather was hassled by police

People stage topless protest after sunbather was hassled by police
Cara Delevingne turned up to the Met Gala topless

A group of people staged a topless protest to stand in solidarity with a topless sunbather who was harassed by police in Montreal.

On Sunday, more than a dozen topless protestors set up near Tam-Tams in Mont-Royal Park with signs that read "Free the Tittes" according to reporting from MTL Blog.

"It's not only about changing people's minds and changing the way people view women's breasts, it's a protest about gender equality entirely," protestor organizer Alice Lacroix from the Liberez les Seins movement told CTV News.

The peaceful protest was organized in response to an incident that occurred between a woman and Quebec City police (SPVQ) last month. The woman was asked to cover up while sunbathing in a public park despite there being no formal law prohibiting her from doing so.

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Éloÿse Paquet Poisson posted to Facebook recounting the experience saying multiple police officers surrounded her pressuring her to cover up while she sat topless in a park doing macramé and smoking a cigarette.

"I didn't know I looked so menacing," Poisson wrote. The woman questioned why police were not arrested bare-chested men in the park and refused to cover up, knowing her rights. Poisson said they called in "reinforcement" to continue harassing her.

"The five of them are moving on me," Poisson recounted in her Facebook post. "My heart is beating fast, but I keep my tits up and my eyes piercing. I am scared but I feel strong."

Other patrons in the park defended Poisson and eventually the police left claiming they were ensuring she was not doing "anything sexual".

There is no law in the Canadian Criminal Code or Quebec's City bylaws prohibiting women from going topless in public parks.

"What happened with Êloÿse was very problematic on the side of the police," Lacroix said to CTV. "There cannot be five policemen around one women who is doing something that's completely legal, but what we also need to remember is somebody called the police. They didn't just see her. They called and complained."

Similar protests have occurred in response to women being censored for their bodies.

Last year, a 61-year-old breast cancer survivor named Susie Simard was given a warning for going topless at Lac-Leamy Park in Gatineau, Quebec according to 24 Heures.

To show her support for women's right to go topless and for Poisson, Simard joined the protest. She told 24 Heures she was there to "support the movement that wants women to be free to dress as they want”.

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