Thousands watch topless parade in New Zealand

August 20th, 2008 - 3:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Wellington, Aug 20 (DPA) Thousands of spectators turned out to watch about 30 topless women take part in a so-called Boobs on Bikes parade through Auckland’s main street Wednesday after a judge rejected a city council bid to stop it.The council failed Tuesday to get a court injunction to stop the parade organised by a self-confessed pornography baron, with Judge Nicola Mather saying it may be tasteless but “in a mature society the vast majority might consider it harmless”.

Anti-pornography campaigners staged protests before and after the parade down Queen Street in New Zealand’s biggest city. Parade organiser Steve Crow told reporters, “it’s nice to see a few protestors exercising their right to free speech.”

Crow, who organises the parade to publicise his annual Erotica Lifestyles Expo, said the topless women were exercising their freedom of expression guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.

He said he started the parade in 2003 as a protest against sexual discrimination after a woman was arrested for baring her breasts in a city street.

A police spokeswomen could not estimate how many people watched the parade but said it was “plenty more” than the 80,000 estimated to have turned out last year and Crow said the opposition had created publicity that produced a record crowd.

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