trigger warning: police violence
Probably better than most, we know that stripping off to make a point can get you a fair bit of attention. So its no surprise that protest groups have used nudity to get media attention, portray vulnerability, or otherwise confuse coppers. We are fans of protest here at Naked Vegan Cooking, and thought we would put together a list of some naked protests (other than the world naked bike rides) which have caught our eye.
1. Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and political activist. He was arrested for pornography after he produced a piece of art showing himself naked holding a toy alpaca over his genitals. The name of the artwork is “grass mud horse covering the middle” which in Chinese apparently sounds very similar to “fuck your mother, the communist party central committee”.
He was arrested on suspicion of being involved in pornography after producing this piece called “One Tiger, Eight Breasts”:
A website was put together to collect pictures of Ai Weiwei’s fans, posing naked in solidarity.
2. Firefighters in Spain have shed their clothes to protest against government spending cuts. The banner reads: “With so many cuts, we are left naked”.
Not entirely sure if these are the same firefighters, but here’s another picture of anti-cuts firefighters that have been doing the rounds:
3. Ukrainian feminist organisation Femen regularly protest topless against sex tourism, sexism and other social problems. Here they are protesting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland against the lack of womens representation at the forum and the dodgy decisions made there.
Here is one of the Femen activists being arrested by Swiss police, and from the looks of things she isnt being treat to well. But it seems the worst was yet to come for the organisation as recently 3 Femen activists were kidnapped and tortured by Belorussian authorities (although have been released now).
4. This radical German group Hedonist International turned up to estate agents viewings of posh apartments in Berlin and held impromptu naked parties as a protest against gentrification. I would love to see the look on the estate agents face! Heres a video (the music is awful):
5. La Kuneta art collective in Santiago, Chile, put together a performance art piece called mujeres pintadas (“painted women”). Here they are taking to the streets to protest domestic violence:
6. Semi-naked students in Quebec took to the streets to protest against a rise in tuition fees. The protest itself was met by police violence; with protesters being tear gassed and crowds broken up with pepper spray and baton charges.
It seems students from Canada are not the only ones who get naked to make a point. Here are some students from the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity marching naked inside the campus to of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in 2011 to condemn an educational budget cut on all state universities and colleges.
7. Naked Mexican farmers frequently take to the streets to protest against state repression and the stealing of land. Heres a video of an american man in very strange clothes attending one of them:
8. This picture of Israeli queers protesting for Palestinian rights has been doing the rounds. We think that the picture is from a protest from quite a while ago. If the website we got it from is correct, then the Hebrew text means “I fuck Palestinians”, but I’ve also seen it being translated as “I fuck Palestinian women”.
9. No stranger to engaging in the odd bit of environmental activism, we thought we had better share this naked Plane Stupid action. Protesters strip naked to protest against unsustainable biofuels being used to “greenwash” the aviation industry.
10. No list of naked protests can go without mentioning the World Naked Bike Ride. There were plenty of naked bike rides/protests organised in the past, but the World Naked Bike Ride first began in its current form in 2004 when Conrad Schmidt created the clothing optional ride primarily against oil dependency and to promote cyclist safety. Here is a picture of Jess at this years Manchester WNBR, looking a bit scared as they can’t really ride a bike that well:
11. These striking workers at this ABB plant in Spain created this very camp homage to YMCA to protest the forced redundancy of many of the plants workers after the company generated record profits.
12. In terms of effectiveness and awareness raising, no list of naked protests would be complete without mentioning Lady Godiva, the 11th century noblewoman who rode naked through the streets of Coventry to gain a reduction in the oppressive taxation system imposed by her husband over the locals. The fact that we are still talking about it 10 centuries later means that she definitively managed to get people talking! (Although whether or not the ride of Godiva actually happened is still a matter of debate!)