November 30, 2016 4:07 pm
Updated: November 30, 2016 4:09 pm

Trial begins for Montreal activist who staged topless protest during Grand Prix

WATCH ABOVE: Two women were taken into police custody after taking off their tops in the middle of Crescent St. during the Grand Prix festivities in 2015 to protest the exploitation of women.

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The Montreal-based women’s rights activist who staged a topless protest during the city’s Grand Prix festivities in 2015 should have the legal proceedings stayed, her lawyer said Wednesday.

Defence lawyer Veronique Robert told the municipal court that the way private security agents detained Neda Topaloski was violent and constituted an illegal arrest.

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READ MORE: Dozens arrested as Montreal police clamp down on Grand Prix protests

Topaloski, 30, is a member of the international feminist group called Femen, whose members stage topless protests around the world.

She has previously disrupted events in the House of Commons as well as in Quebec’s legislature.

READ MORE: Montreal mayor says Canadian Grand Prix will go ahead in 2017

She is facing charges of mischief and disturbing the peace after she protested during a street festival in downtown Montreal associated with the Canadian Grand Prix.

Topaloski testified that members of the event’s security staff dragged her roughly along the pavement by her hands and feet and stepped on her hair after she climbed onto a car as part of her protest.

READ MORE: Grand Prix protests gear up in Montreal again

She said she was left with skin abrasions and bruises.

Outside the courtroom, Topaloski said that at the time of her arrest, she had been peacefully protesting the prostitution and sexual exploitation she associates with the Formula One event.

“Women’s bodies are always used to sexualize women and objectify women and they are used to sell products and sell women as products,” she said.

“If they can use our bodies to sell things and sell women then we can use them for our feminist goals and write our ideas of equality and freedom on them.”

READ MORE: Montreal mayor says deal reached on Grand Prix track upgrade

In November, she was arrested after staging a topless protest at a New York City election polling station.

Her trial is expected to conclude Thursday.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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