As Americans celebrated Memorial Day weekend, Eloyse Paquet Poisson was enjoying a sunny day in a Quebec City park, smoking a cigarette and doing macrame, which sounds like it should have been largely uneventful. Instead, she had an unpleasant encounter with local police and her tale about it went viral, prompting dozens of topless women to converge on a Montreal park on Sunday in protest. In a Facebook post from May 30, Poisson describes the "stressful, angry, and worrisome" incident from the day prior, when she'd been quietly sitting on her blanket in the park. She writes she'd taken her shirt off "to get some sun and ... to catch some cool breeze that would cool off my under-boob." Poisson notes there were many men around her who had the same idea and were similarly topless—but they weren't the ones approached by a police officer.
Poisson says the cop watched her from afar for about 10 minutes, then walked over and asked her to cover herself. She notes that she refused and asked the officer why he wasn't asking the men in the park to do the same, at which point he walked away. Then, after another 10 minutes, he was back, with a group of his colleagues for "reinforcement," per Poisson's account. "The five of them are moving on me," she writes. "My heart is beating fast, but I keep my t--s up and my eyes piercing. I am scared but I feel strong." She says that she informed the cops they had no legal standing to make their ask, and that they agreed with her. She also notes that people in the park started standing up for her, including one shirtless man who proclaimed, "Are you going to arrest me?"
CTV News and Global News note the police were apparently responding to a citizen complaint about Poisson's toplessness. Both outlets add there's nothing illegal locally or nationally regarding women appearing sans shirts in a park. It seems Poisson didn't get fined, but her post went viral, prompting dozens of topless women to converge on Jeanne-Mance Park in Montreal on Sunday in solidarity. "It's not only about changing people's minds and changing the way people view women's breasts, [but] it's a protest about gender equality entirely," Alice Lacroix, the organizer of the protest, told CTV. She added, per Global News: "I know that what we're doing today is bothering a lot of people. and I say, good ... Because at the end of the day, what we're claiming is our rights to use our bodies the way that we want to." (Read more topless stories.)