From: Associated Press
Published June 13, 2005 12:00 AM

Cyclists Stage Naked Demonstrations in London, Madrid Against Over-Use of Cars

LONDON — Hundreds of naked cyclists staged demonstrations Saturday to protest the West's dependence on gas-guzzling cars -- and to push for more use of bicycles.


The organizers of World Naked Bike Ride 2005 said protests were expected in a number of countries, including Australia, Canada, the United States, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and Israel.


In London, crowds gathered to watch as about 100 cyclists left Hyde Park Corner on a journey that took them past some of the capital's most famous landmarks.


Most of the riders had stripped naked for the 6-mile (10-kilometer) ride past Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, Covent Garden, Oxford Street and the U.S. Embassy.


Some bikes carried banners reading "Oil is not a bare necessity but a crude obsession" and "Support the trade justice movement."


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"It's a protest against oil dependency and car culture and the overuse of cars for unnecessary reasons," said Chad Neilson, 24, from north London, who was one of the organizers.


"There is too much pollution. It stinks in London, and we use too much fossil fuel."


In the Spanish capital, Madrid, dozens of nude cyclists pedaled along major thoroughfares past famous landmarks, drawing surprised looks.


Most were men, naked except for shoes and helmets, or caps to fend off the hot Spanish sun.


"What we clearly want to show is that we feel naked against the traffic," said an organizer who gave only his first name, Javier. "Every day we have to put up with the traffic, the aggression of the drivers, their speed and bad manners."


Source: Associated Press


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