VENICE ( — A group of women marched topless along the Venice Beach boardwalk on Sunday as part of an annual call for equal rights for women who want to go bare-breasted in public.

“We’re working toward freeing women’s nipples and obtaining equal gender topless rights that are enforced worldwide,” according to Lara Terstenjak, head of the Los Angeles branch of GoTopless, the sponsor of the event.

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The annual topless march featured women — joined by shirtless men — walking from the northern end of Ocean Front Walk to the center of the boardwalk at Windward Circle, where a rally was held urging lawmakers to allow women to go topless. Similar marches are being held in dozens of cities across the country as part of the eighth annual GoTopless Day.

On Friday night, organizers of the Venice march held a “pre-rally party extravaganza” in West Los Angeles, featuring a screening of the film, “Free the Nipple.”

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Topless activists were encouraged recently when the Venice Neighborhood Council approved a resolution to support women going topless, but enacting a law to that effect would require action by the city and the county. It is still illegal to go topless in the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County.

“The Venice Neighborhood Council’s approval is a hopeful step forward after our eight years of activism on Venice Beach,” Terstenjak said. “Now it’s time for the city and county to follow up by making equal gender and topless rights a priority.”

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