11-Jul-2012,
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French Police arrests GoTopless women about to exercise their topless right

(Communique de presse en francais sous cet article)

The report you are about to read will seem surreal. It relates a case of blatant French police repression that occurred just before a GoTopless March in Paris on Saturday Aug. 27, 2011. Such repressive treatment may be expected of a dictatorship . But in France? The cradle of Democracy? How could the French police arrest pacific French citizens during a peaceful march authorized by the city's Prefect and detain them for no given reasons ? Furthermore, why was the arrest focused on female citizens only when the march counted both male and female fully clothed individuals?

On Saturday Aug 27, the GoTopless Parisian group staged a march to encourage the women of the French Capital to exercise their topless right since Paris, like NYC or Toronto is top free.

Some members of the group had recently attended an annual Raelian Happiness Academy seminar in Slovenia where Spiritual leader Rael, founder of Gotopless.org had recommended that a Gotopless event take place in Paris. Though France holds a reputation for topless freedom throughout the world, their double standard laws on gender topless equality had to be exposed.

Indeed, appearances can be very misleading as this story will show.

The leaders of Gotopless Paris had met with the Prefect of the city to ask an authorization for the march two weeks prior to the event as it is required. Together with the Prefect, they also discussed the itinerary the march would follow. When the group leader mentioned to the Prefect that the women would be topless in accordance with the topless law in effect in the city, the Prefect responded that the women maybe arrested for "sexual provocation". The GoTopless leaders added « what if they cover their nipples? » The Prefect warned them that they may be arrested anyway. The Prefect went on requesting them to sign a document swearing that no woman would be topless during the march to promote topless gender equality. The GoTopless leaders refused.

The difference between French police and the US Or Canadian Police during the GoTopless protests is notable. In ALL of the 14 North American cities that participated on Aug 21 and Aug 27, 11, the US and Canadian police duly respected and protected the participants who were exercising their unalienable constitutional right (the same right exists for Europeans in the European Constitution)

The French police, on the other hand, grossly violated human rights and must be brought to justice

The following report was written on Aug 28, 2011 by Lisiane Fricotté, Public Liberty and Human Rights Jurist, GoTopless.org spokesperson for the Paris event (she was one of the 6 GoTopless women arrested)

Yesterday, at 3PM, we were 6 women and 3 men(and many passerby’s), waiting for the rain to stop pouring at the bottom the stairs of the metro station near the St.Michel Fountain in Paris, France. We were getting ready to start the GoTopless March. One of the participating groups, made up of 6 women and 3 men was suddenly surrounded by the police without any given reason. The only thing the police said was : « our Chief Officer is coming and will tell you what this is about ». The women were still covered on top and so were the men.

The obvious goal seemed to simply prevent us from demonstrating and to join the rest of the group that the police surrounded as well.

When the Police Chief arrived, Marilyne attempted to explain that we had an authorization but it did not make a difference.

They never gave us a reason for surrounding us. They took all of our ID’s (men and women). It was impossible to cross the police barrier made of 13 police officers plus a few in civilian clothing). Yaelle tried to break through the police barrier but was pushed back against the wall.

They made us wait like that for 45 minutes, until a police officer took the women one by one inside the "meat wagon". The men were allowed to join the rest of the group.

We felt deep inside us the extent to which our action was important and revolutionary.

We began to prepare ourselves for a possible police questioning even if we thought that the only goal was to hold us long enough so we could not be in the march.

After a touristic tour aboard the "meat wagon", with some stops, we were offered a visit of the 5th District police station. We walked in, one by one and sat on the police station's benches, waiting. We were joyful, so happy that our action may awaken other minds.

Then one by one, we met with a judiciary police officer. It took a long time. When one of the women asked why she had been arrested, for what crime, the police officer answered: "you are going to tell me!" When another woman asked the police officer interrogating her to state what her rights were, he answered: "what rights? You have no rights!"

And finally when my turn came, the officer decided to give me back my ID without asking me any questions. At that point, I asked to make a plea, stating that only the women had been brought to the police station, that no reason had been given, and that our citizen’s freedom had been taken away since 3PM.

At 5PM, we were free (at least, we thought so) and were ready to join the rest of the group to finish the march that was due to end at 5 :30PM.

But in fact, we were escorted by 2 women police officers, and then we were surrounded again!!! The goal was to prevent us from joining the group too fast and maybe to prevent us from marching in the street in front of Notre Dame’s Cathedral a major point of concern raised by the Prefect during our appointment with him 2 weeks prior to request the authorization.

We were finally able to join our brothers again but the legal time for the march had lapsed.

Why was such an extensive police force deployed for this? As many as 13 police officers escorted 6 peaceful women (and to this, we must add the officers who followed our brothers during the march and those dressed in civilian clothing.) To what length the French Government went to prevent us from exercising our gender equality right to be topless! As in the US and Canada, the police should have been there to protect us.

And the women, let’s not forget, were arrested before they even took off their tops !

The 6 women are suing for discrimination. The suit has been brought to the French Justice Department in charge of discrimination cases. GoTopless, based in the United States is also looking at an international legal recourse.


6 femmes arretees a Paris alors qu'elles s'appretaient a exercer leur droit d'etre topless.

Ce samedi 27 août, 6 femmes militantes qui s'appretaient a rejoindre la marche GoTopless prévues au centre de Paris, ont été encerclées par la police, puis arrêtées et conduites au commissariat ou elles ont ete detenues plusieurs heures sans qu'aucune expliquation ne leur soit donnee.

L'association GoTopless.org, basée aux Etats-Unis, organisait pour la premiere fois a Paris, une marche de sensibilisation afin que les femmes usent de leur droit constitutionnel à être « topless » en public. “Ce droit qui apparait evident pour les hommes est extremement conteste pour les femmes, comme on l'a constate a Paris ce samedi alors que 6 d'entre nous se sont vues arretees alors qu'elles etaient couvertes et n'avaient pas encore rejoint la marche” explique Clémence Linard, coordinatrice de l'organisation GoToples.org en Europe. “

La discrimination evidente pratiquee par les autorites prefectorale et policiere envers les femmes comme le montre cet evenement est inacceptable et en totale opposition à la Constitution française et aux Droits de l'Homme. Des membres de l'association Gotopless ont decide de porter plainte" .

Lisiane Fricotté, juriste des Droits de l'Homme et libertés publiques, et porte parole de GoTopless.org lors de l'événement à Paris faisait partie du groupe de femmes arretees et detenues par la police et rappelle les faits: "Ce samedi, à 15h, près de la Place St-Michel à Paris, un groupe composé de 6 femmes et 3 hommes a été subitement encerclé par des policiers, leur ordonnant de ne plus circuler. Il y avait plus de policiers que de personnes encerclées.
Apres 45 minutes d'encerclement, la police refusant toujours de donner une explication et raison de cette arrestation, a decide d'emmener les femmes, une à une, dans le fourgon de police, tandis que les hommes pouvaient librement rejoindre la marche GoTopless. Entendues au commissariat, nous n'avons eu aucune explication sur les raisons de cette intervention, alors que nous ne faisions que faire respecter nos droits.
Lorsque l'une d'entre nous a demandé pourquoi elle se trouvait là, pour quel contrôle ou quelle infraction, l'officier a répondu : « c'est vous qui allez me le dire ! ». Lorsqu'une autre a demandé à connaître ses droits au policier qui l’interrogeait, il a répondu : « quels droits ? Vous n’avez pas de droits ! ».
“Ce policier ne pouvait pas mieux decrire la situation, les femmes n'ont pas de droits car, meme s'il n'existe pas de loi qui interdit aux femmes d'etre seins nus, la morale judeo chretienne qui semble etre au dessus des lois, a declare nos seins objets sexuels et le fait de les denuder une exposition sexuelle.” denonce Clemence Linard.

Elle précise que les autorités n’en sont pas restées là et qu'à la sortie du commissariat, les femmes qui se sont mises en marche pour rejoindre le groupe ont de nouveau été encerclées et elles ont dû de nouveau rester immobilisées, sans raison.

"Autre point montrant la volonté d’interdire aux femmes de participer à cette marche : sur les trois organisateurs de cette marche, officiellement déclarés à la Préfecture, seule la femme a été arrêtée ! C’est le règne de l’arbitraire le plus absolu et de la discrimination poussée à son paroxysme, dès lors que le tabou de la nudité est pointé." poursuit Lisiane Fricotté.

Interviewée suite à son arrestation, samedi, la juriste a commenté: «Cette formule d'encerclement et de detention est la nouvelle manière d'interdire les manifestations à Paris, sans dire ouvertement qu'il s'agit d'une interdiction de manifester. Quel motif pouvait-il d’ailleurs être invoqué, alors qu’en amont, les démarches administratives d’autorisation à manifester avaient été faites ? L’absence d’autorisation ? Cela n’a aucun sens puisque les hommes ont pu suivre le parcours en toute liberté ? Comment une autorisation peut être valable pour les hommes et non valable pour les femmes ? C’est la parfaite illustration de l’état des libertés en France et de la discrimination anti constitutionnelle au regard du principe d’égalité des sexes »

Rael, leader du Mouvement Raelien et initiateur de l'association Gotopless rappelait cet ete lors de l'Universite du Bonheur qu'il conduit devant des centaines de Francais chaque annee, que Paris etait probablement tres en retard sur New York ou il est possible maintenant d'etre seins nus.

L'association Gotopless organise en effet depuis 4 ans, des marches topless dans de nombreuses villes des Etats Unis sans aucun probleme, sous la protection de la police qui veille a ce que leurs marches se deroulent sans encombres.

“ Alors que les Francais aiment se moquer de la pudibonderie americaine, la France n'est meme pas capable de parler de seins ou meme de demander a 'cacher ce sein que je ne saurais voir', au lieu de cela, elle use des pratiques totalitaires en privant des femmes de liberte, sans expliquation, pendant plusieurs heures pour s'assurer qu'elles ne devoilent rien et ne derangent pas la morale et l'ordre etabli” commente Clémence Linard.

D'apres l'une des membres de Gotopless qui avait fait les demarches d'autorisation aupres de la prefecture, le souci emis par la prefecture venait du fait que la marche allait passer dans le quartier de Notre Dame. “Pour preserver la sensibilite chretienne, le prefet enferme des femmes pendant plusieurs heures! Voila qui est digne de la pire dictature religieuse! D'autant plus que ces femmes ont été arrêtées alors qu’elles n’étaient pas encore "topless".
Autrement dit, ces 6 femmes ont ete arretees pour 'intention de non-delit'.

Lisiane Fricotté a décidé de porter plainte auprès du Défenseur des droits, qui a pour mission de lutter contre les discriminations et de défendre l’égalité.
D’autres actions juridiques sont egalement prevues par les membres de l'association Gotopless afin de dénoncer ces faits et agissements de la France devant les instances internationales.[/block]
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