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Local Naked Campaigner On
Channel 4

Vincent Bethell - protest at Houses of ParliamentA Coventry man who started a campaign for the right to be naked in public will be the subject of a television documentary this weekend.

Foleshill-based Vincent Bethell began the Freedom to be Yourself Campaign in 1997 after penning several letters to the government which were not answered.

Although he admits that people find the idea of his campaign amusing, Bethell says there is a very serious side to the idea.

He said:

"It is about freedom of choice to do what you want to do. I wrote to the government repeatedly asking them why nakedness was illegal and I did not receive any response so I realised it was time to take more drastic action.

"The first protest was in Picadilly Circus and around six of us attended. The aim is to highlight to people what it is to be human."

But Bethell reveals that the campaign has not been without its difficulties, he was arrested on one protest and charged under the Public Order Act.

He said:

"My solicitor is taking that further and we will be appealing to the European Court of Human Rights to look at the way I have been infringed.

"When I started up the campaign I was a bit worried about the reaction I would get from people, I thought there would be some negative feedback but mostly that is not the case.

"Often the reaction I get is laughter but that is ok, when you are naked it is a joyous occasion and something to be happy about."

Although the campaign has been running for two years with leaflets and flyers, membership has only reached 15 people with around half a dozen attending each protest.

Last June Bethell staged a protest walk in Coventry from the fountain to the statue of Lady Godiva.

The history and details of Bethellís campaign can be seen in a Channel 4 documentary which will be screened at 3.35am this coming Sunday morning.

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CWN / Community / Organisations / Freedom To Be Yourself Campaign / 12 Oct 99

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