Mullumbimby activist Dean Jefferys says Byron could soon see the second Nude Ain’t Rude rally in 20 years if his meeting with police on Thursday does not produce results.
He said he was looking for answers from the police about their ‘zero tolerance’ approach to nudity outside the Byron Shire Council’s declared clothing-optional area at Tyagarah, adding ‘plenty of people who wouldn’t describe themselves as nudists or naturists like a quick skinny dip now and again’.
Mr Jefferys said the police had a ‘blinkered approach’ to the issue of sexual harassment on the shire’s beaches meaning ‘now anyone who is naked is a target’.
‘They should be policing cases of lurid sexual behavior, which is what the complaints have been about.
‘I’ve heard people have phoned cops when someone is wanking in the bushes – and they just haven’t turned up,’ he said.
Meanwhile Mr Jefferys is recommending people who want take the occasional skinny dip avoid the area between Brunswick Heads and Byron Bay.
‘In my view all the beaches in the shire should be clothes optional except the populated, flagged areas,’ he said.
Mr Jefferys was also critical of the Safe Beaches Committee, a group set up to oversee the remaining 800 metres of clothing optional beach in the shire, and made up of representatives from police, council, a naturist group, Tyagarah residents and Elements resort.
‘I don’t feel there’s representation of the general community on Safe Beaches,’ he told Echonetdaily.
‘I couldn’t find out how to get invited [to last week’s meeting] and one of the residents who did go told me she “wasn’t allowed to talk about it”,’ he added.
‘There needs to be a more broadly representative group than Safe Beaches*,’ he said. ‘It seems like it’s a closed shop.’
Hassled in nude area
Meanwhile a man says he has been harassed by police within the 800-metre clothing optional beach at Tyagarah.
Echonetdaily reader, Mr D James, said he felt threatened after a 4WD police car followed him as he walked naked along the legal stretch of beach.#
The 4WD pulled up nearby, with one officer repeatedly demanding, ‘Where have you come from?’ Mr James said.
He described the officers as staring at him in a manner that made him ‘uneasy’.
‘I wanted to let him know that I’m part of a group of locals that is working hard to keep this beach clothing optional,’ he said, adding it was only when he told them ‘I’m one of the good guys’ that they ‘slowly unlocked their stare and focused back towards the almost empty beach.’
*Echonetdaily has requested to see a copy of the minutes of last week’s Safe Beaches committee meeting but a decision has yet to be made.
# Echonetdaily has sought response from Tweed-Byron police in relation to Mr James’ claims.