PETA Protest Ends in 6 Arrests

Undergrad among nude anti-fur protestors arrested in Square

Though the protest’s unique nature attracted a lot of attention, several members of the crowd commented on the disproportionate media and police presence in comparison to the relatively few protestors.

Several observers admitted that they weren’t there for the issues.

“I’m expecting some naked people,” said one local construction worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he said he was supposed to be working.

Anne D. Conlin ’07 criticized the spectacle nature of the event.

“If they want to bring in people from the mainstream to their cause it can be better done with persuasive data than naked antics in Harvard Square,” she said.


Mathews defended the group’s methods as unfortunate but necessary.

“Anything that gets people talking about issues is effective,” he said. “It’s a shame that we have to go to such lengths, but if we had been clothed and holding up pictures of animals being electrocuted on fur farms, there wouldn’t have been such vast public interest. Or jokes on Saturday Night Live.”

Palmer said he was surprised by the amount of media and police attention the event attracted, but said that this indicated its effectiveness.

“If it gets to hundreds of thousand of people via the news, that accomplishes something,” he said.

Palmer attended the protest, but kept his clothes on.

“I felt as the teacher of the course I should keep a respectful distance,” he said.

At the 3 p.m. lecture for Religion 1529, Palmer drew laughter from the full auditorium when he questioned what threat naked people pose to national security, and what crime would have warranted the protestors’ arrest.

“Mathews is not here because the police are having trouble thinking of what the charges should be,” he said.

Noting his students’ disappointment at Mathews’ absence, Palmer said he hoped that the PETA leader would appear before class concluded.

“As you know, for our visitors we don’t pay travel expenses. Or bail,” Palmer joked.