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Female protester arrested reenacting Virginia state seal

A woman supporting Virginia's ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was arrested in Richmond on Monday after exposing her breast while posing as the state seal.

Michelle Renay Sutherland, 45, a New York activist, was arrested outside the state Capitol, accused of indecent exposure, after police had given her a warning, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Sutherland, along with fellow activist Natalie White, was enacting a bit of performance art, recreating the state's seal. The seal depicts Roman goddess Virtus, her left breast exposed, holding both a spear and sword with her left foot on the form of Tyranny, represented by the body of a man.

Sutherland was part of a group called Radical Matriarchy. White, who was also arrested last week outside the office of Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox (R), is with the group Equal Means Equal.

The protests come after the Virginia Senate in January voted to pass a resolution for the state to ratify ERA, but then the push died in a state House subcommittee.

The proposed federal amendment reads in part: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

ERA supporters said that if Virginia were to ratify the amendment it would become part of the U.S. Constitution, but opponents argue that the possibility of that has expired.

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