The prefects do not want the naturist cycling tour of France

The prefects do not want the naturist cycling tour of France

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Who wants to pedal far puts on at least a bathing thong. If the Tour de France is welcomed with great fanfare in all the territories it crosses, the same is not true for the “World naked bike ride”. Organized in France by the Naturist Movement, this naked bike road trip describes itself as an “original and festive” way to demonstrate for the climate, biodiversity, freedoms and peace. Except that it is not to the taste of certain prefects to see cyclists in Adam and Eve’s outfits walking around in their departments. Thus, many stages have been banned by prefectural decrees, the latest concerning the stage between Tournai, in Belgium, and Lille, in the North.

The 2022 edition of the “World naked bike ride” (WNBR) was to have 16 stages, with a departure from Rennes on July 14 and an arrival in Paris on August 4. But the twenty participants registered to do the whole race, not to mention the sympathizers (up to 200) who join in during the course, had to deal with the stiffness of the representatives of the State. The first three stages were thus banned by the prefects of Ille-et-Vilaine, Loire-Atlantique and Charente-Maritime.

Freedom of expression versus sexual exhibition

In the declarations of demonstrations transmitted to the authorities by the organizers, it is always the same sentence which buggers the prefects: “Come as naked as you dare. “A sentence which necessarily implies that participants will be as dressed as worms. And against this, the prefects systematically brandish article 222-32 of the Penal Code which punishes with one year in prison and a fine of 15,000 euros “the sexual exhibition imposed in the sight of others in a place accessible to the gaze public “.

Admittedly, the prefectural decrees refer to several case law, notably from the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Cassation, which recognize nudity as a form of freedom of expression. But against this, the prefects draw the argument of “disturbances to public order likely to occur” to justify their bans on demonstrating, at least on demonstrating naked.

To date, a dozen prefectural bans have been issued, the last concerning stage 13, which was to leave Belgium to arrive in Lille on Saturday. Each time, the authorities proposed to the organizers to find a solution to avoid the ban. In other words, dress minimally to hide their private parts. According to the prefect of the North, the organizer refused this proposal, arguing that it was “against the very principle of the” World naked bike ride “”. Inevitably, how to claim naturism when one is dressed?

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