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updated: 12/21/2013 11:44 AM

'Topless' protest sputters out in Rio de Janeiro

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Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO -- A planned protest for the right to go topless on Rio de Janeiro's beaches fell flat when just a handful of women bared their chests for the movement.

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More than 100 photojournalists stampeded across the golden sands of Ipanema beach when the first woman took off her bikini top on Saturday to flout Brazilian law. Just three or four other women joined in.

Brazil has an international reputation as a country of liberal sexual mores, where nudity is not only tolerated but enthusiastically embraced during Carnival parades.

But under Brazil's penal code, which dates back to the 1940s, female toplessness is considered an "obscene act," punishable by three months to a year in prison, or fines. Even critics of the law admit few are prosecuted.

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