Image: Animal rights activists protest topless in Paris
Mal Langsdon  /  Reuters
Members of the animal rights group PETA demonstrate topless, against the fur and leather trade in front of the Paris branch of luxury leather luggage firm Louis Vuitton, on Thursday.
updated 2/12/2004 10:11:21 AM ET 2004-02-12T15:11:21

In a pre-Valentine’s Day protest, animal rights activists stripped down to their red bikini underpants Thursday on the Champs-Elysees, urging couples not to buy gifts of fur to express their love.

“Fur out, love in,” read heart-shaped signs that the activists — two men and two women — held over their bare chests exposed to the wintry chill. They kneeled together on a pink mattress placed outside Louis Vuitton’s flagship store.

“These guys are out here braving cold temperatures baring their skin to try to save some animal skins,” said Andrew Butler, a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which organized the protest.

Camera-toting tourists, and some ladies in fur, were among those who stopped to stare at the eye-catching protest, which lasted 20 minutes.

“It’s a free world after all,” said Scottish tourist Leonora Conetta, 56, wearing a fur-collared coat. “I respect everyone’s opinion.”

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