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Why I take part in the naked bike ride

York Press (UK)
AHEAD of this afternoon’s World Naked Bike Ride in York, regular participant John Cossham explains why he takes part in the event.

He said: “I took part in the first York World Naked Bike Ride in 2006 because I’m a very keen cyclist and anything which celebrates cycling is something I’ll support. …

“I’m not a regular naturist, and I’m a bit self conscious about my belly and ‘love handles’, but on the fourth year I threw caution to the wind and cycled naked. It was a very liberating experience, and I always like the reaction of the onlookers which is overwhelmingly positive. I think that riding naked is a great way to show how vulnerable cyclists are, and it shows that whoever you are… young or old, fit or flabby, male or female, that cycling is a great way to get around.

“If we just had an annual bike ride, wearing normal clothing, we would get minimal publicity for the issues… anthropogenic climate change, peak oil, pollution, dangerous roads, the genius simplicity of the bicycle. Riding naked is fun, feels nice and free, and draws attention to these important subjects, encouraging debate and maybe societal change.”

-The sixth annual World Naked Bike Ride will start this afternoon.

The bike ride began as a protest against oil dependency and car culture.
(4 June 2011)

Raging Greeks Stage Biggest Anti-Austerity Protest Yet

Will Vassilopoulos, Agence France-Presse
Thousands of Greeks took to the streets of Athens late Sunday on the 12th consecutive day of protests against the government’s draconian austerity measures.

Over 50,000 people, according to police estimates, thronged the capital’s central Syntagma square for a peaceful demonstration responding to calls for gatherings across Europe. Some 3,000 people also gathered in Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki, according to the police.

… The non-political, non-ideological demonstrations are modeled by a similar mobilization in Spain led by a group calling themselves ‘the indignants’.
(5 June 2011)

Yemen: After Saleh, What?

Gwynne Dyer, CommonDreams
President Ali Abdullah al-Saleh, in power in Yemen for the past 33 years and under siege for the past three months, left the country on Saturday night with a large piece of shrapnel lodged just below his heart. He may not come back.

Accompanying Saleh to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment were the prime minister, the deputy prime minister, the speakers of both houses of parliament, and Saleh’s personal security adviser, all of whom were also wounded in the Friday explosion at the al-Nahdayn mosque in the presidential compound in Sanaa. It’s a pretty clean sweep, so the question is: who comes next?

Nobody even knows whether the explosion was caused by a bomb planted in the mosque, a shell, or a rocket. The situation is very complicated, so you’d better take notes. (There will be a brief test afterwards.)

The turmoil in Yemen is really two separate conflicts. One is a traditional power struggle between two elite factions. The other is a non-violent, pro-democratic youth movement inspired by the popular revolutions elsewhere in the Arab world. They were linked at the start (though most of the young idealists didn’t realise it), but they will be disentangled by the finish.
(5 June 2011)