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Last Updated: Monday, 4 August, 2003, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Brazil gays stage protest 'kiss-in'
Gay couples kiss inside a mall in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Couples kissed against discrimination and prejudice

More than 100 gay couples in Brazil have staged a kissing protest at a shopping centre, demanding the right to kiss freely in public.

They organised the demonstration after a security guard at the Frei Caneca shopping centre in central Sao Paulo asked a homosexual couple to stop kissing.

Gay rights groups said that was discrimination and a violation of local law.

The shopping centre's managers said the real problem was what they described as the kiss's excessive ardour.

We want to show that we exist
Rudiney Bueno, student
They said a heterosexual couple would be treated in the same way.

A spokeswoman for the centre said as many as 3,000 people attended the rally on Sunday, but not all joined in the kissing.

"We want to show that we exist," said Rudiney Bueno, a student, who started the kissing with his partner of two years, Roger Lopez, an accountant.

"Heterosexual couples can kiss in public, and I think that we should have that right."

Staff worked through the night to stick big, bright red lips all over the front and inside of the building.

The DJ in attendance at the event played songs with the word "kiss" in them as a background to the protesters.

"I think it's wonderful. In a world so full of violence, getting worked up about a kiss is just nonsense," said Beth Biagentini, an onlooker.

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