January 19, 2000 12:10pm
Rio OKs Topless Sunbathing
(RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil) -- The girl from Ipanema never wore much when she walked to the beach, but now she may officially go topless.
Rio de Janeiro state security chief Col. Josias Quintal said police no longer will prevent women from sunbathing nude from the waist up.
"In my opinion, this will be the summer of topless," Mayor Luiz Paulo Conde said in a published interview Wednesday.
The matter may have seemed moot, given the amount of skin already revealed by tiny Brazilian tangas and "dental floss" bikinis.
But last week, Rio state police arrested a woman for public obscenity when she removed the top of her bikini on Rio's Barra de Tijuca beach. Her fiance tried to stop them and was arrested for disrespecting a police officer.
The incident was filmed by a TV camera crew and sparked a public outcry. On Ipanema beach Tuesday, men wore bikinis in protest, while semi-nude women carried signs covering their chests.
The corpulent Conde said he favored an "intimate contact with nature" but said he would not set an example in public on grounds it was "aesthetically complicated."
The charges against the couple have been dropped.