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San Francisco tells nudists to get dressed

A San Francisco Sheriff's Deputy removes a nude protester who removed his clothes in the supervisors' legislative chambers in San Francisco
A San Francisco Sheriff's Deputy removes a nude protester who removed his clothes in the supervisors' legislative chambers in San Francisco

By Ronnie Cohen

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Francisco's Board of Supervisors gave final approval on Tuesday to a ban on public nudity, a measure aimed at curtailing displays of nakedness that some residents and business owners say have gotten out of control in the famously tolerant city.

The board's action during a contentious meeting at City Hall prompted six angry protesters to strip down to their socks.

Standing at the ready with blankets, sheriff's deputies quickly covered up the disrobed demonstrators and led them from the majestic beaux-arts chamber. Protesters, one wearing only rainbow knee socks and another sporting black nylons, chanted, "body freedom" and "shame on you" as they were escorted from the room.

The Board of Supervisors gave preliminary approval to the nudity ban two weeks ago. Its final 6-5 vote on Tuesday came without further debate from the panel. The measure is due to take effect on February 1.

The supervisors' efforts to clamp down on public nudity has caused a flap in the city, where men in particular are known to parade in the buff through the streets of the predominantly gay Castro District.

San Francisco last year required nudists to cover their buttocks in public and to wear clothes in restaurants. Residents say the restrictions just encouraged exhibitionism.

Under the new ordinance, public nudity would be allowed at certain parades, fairs and festivals, and on designated beaches.

Violators would be fined up to $100 for a first offense and $200 for a second. Three-time offenders would face up to a year in jail and a $500 fine.

(Reporting by Ronnie Cohen; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Steve Gorman and Stacey Joyce)

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