Fewer people turn out for Asheville topless rally - FOX Carolina 21

Fewer people turn out for Asheville topless rally

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Donna Newman (right) was one of the event's organizers and women who went topless. (Aug. 26, 2012/FOX Carolina) Donna Newman (right) was one of the event's organizers and women who went topless. (Aug. 26, 2012/FOX Carolina)
ASHEVILLE, NC (AP/FOX Carolina) -

Fewer people than expected turned out for a topless rally in Asheville intended to promote women's equality.

Several hundred people attended the second-annual event sponsored by GoTopless.org on Sunday afternoon. About a dozen women went topless.

About 2,000 people attended last year's event, including several dozen women who bared their breasts.

The event does not violate Asheville's nudity laws, which only apply to nudity below the waist.

The women participating said they should have the same rights as men to go shirtless at beaches, pools and other public venues.

"Every woman's right is a woman's right," said Donna Newman, one of the protest's organizers. "So it's deplorable to me to think that the Constitution wouldn't give me any right just because I am a woman."

Organizer Jeff Johnson of Huntsville, AL, criticized Asheville City Council members for issuing a statement Thursday asking people to stay.

Johnson said his group contends that laws and social stigmas against women being topless in public are unfair.

Johnson said the campaign is similar to civil rights struggles for minorities and gays.

A small group of people carrying crosses attended as a counter-demonstration. Michael Lombardi of Asheville said they wanted to combat what they called wickedness.

According to gotopless.org, Asheville was one of nine cities across the country to hold topless rallies Sunday.

Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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