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Man strips naked outside White House

AFP-JIJI

U.S. Secret Service personnel sprang into action Friday outside the White House when a man stripped naked in what appeared to be a form of protest.

On one of the hottest days of the year so far in the capital, where temperatures hit at least 26 degrees Celsius (78 Fahrenheit), the man ambled up to Secret Service officers at the gate of the White House and then took off all his clothes.

The incident happened shortly before President Barack Obama was to give a speech at the White House announcing his new pick as housing secretary.

The man, named by the Secret Service as Michel Bechard, refused to be subdued and was arrested.

Witnesses said uniformed officers covered him in a foil heat sheet and loaded him into a Secret Service van.

Photos on Twitter showed at least three police officers kneeling on the naked man to keep him under control. Another image showed him standing just a few steps from the White House fence as people stood around and snapped pictures with their phones.