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Wednesday, July 28, 1999 Published at 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK


Nude protesters scale new heights

A protester outside Buckingham Palace in June

Naked protesters have been arrested after stripping off outside London's Royal Courts of Justice in front of hundreds of bemused tourists.

One protester, Vincent Bethell, reached new heights by climbing a lamp-post before removing his clothes, while being cheered by onlookers.

He said he would remain aloft for 24 hours, and provided quite a sight for passengers on the top of double-decker buses.

But he was eventually arrested along with two others, after police prised him from his perch. He then offered to put his clothes back on.

Other nude people handed out leaflets, detailing their campaign on the right to be naked.

One supporter of the protesters said the demonstration was being held to press the case for legalisation of "non-sexual peaceful public nudity" as an expression of personal freedom.

Police had issued warnings to the demonstrators about indecent behaviour. But passer-by John Callaghan expressed support for the demonstration.

Summer campaign

He questioned whether the law should not be changed since "onlookers were not shocked by the protest and the protesters were doing no harm".

This is not the first time Mr Bethell has bared all for his cause. He heads a small Coventry-based group and has been campaigning in London throughout the summer.

He was recently hauled out of a fountain by police after he took his clothes off outside Buckingham Palace.

And he has had posters up at tube stations urging the public to "go naked" outside the Royal Courts of Justice on 28 July.

Nude protests were also seen by Glastonbury Festival revellers.

Again, Mr Bethell was at the forefront, handing out his leaflets and wearing nothing but sunscreen in an effort to prove his point.

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