dozens of topless women protested in a New York City park on Sunday as part of the so-called National Go Topless Day to draw attention to inequality in dress rights between men and women.

On a hot, sweaty day there were topless men in the park, too, but nobody paid them much attention; a disparity, organisers said, that demonstrated the need for the event.

The topless women drew onlookers who took pictures and video with their cellphones.

“We say there is nothing wrong with the female nipple,” Karen Heaven, an organiser of the event, told the crowd that quickly formed around her in Manhattan’s Bryant Park. “My dog has six, I have two, but I can be put in jail for showing my nipples. It’s 2012 – what are we thinking?”

It is legal for women to go topless in public in New York City but laws vary widely across the US. Heaven and her colleagues say discrimination is unconstitutional and they want full equality.

Similar protests were scheduled in about 30 US cities and 10 around the world, organisers said.

The topless day coincides with Women’s Equality Day. It was established in 2007 by Raël, a former journalist who founded a religion called the Raëlian Movement after he said he was visited by an alien who told him life on Earth was created by extraterrestrial scientists.

Occasional references to alien creators did not seem to register with onlookers, who focused mostly on the breasts. – Reuters