Advertisement
This story is over 5 years old
VICE News

FEMEN Members Arrested at Topless Paris Protest

Two demonstrators were arrested after protesting France's National Front by shouting slogans and painting swastikas on their chests.

by Olivia Becker
Apr 22 2014, 9:25pm

Photo by Souvarina

The radical feminist protest group FEMEN staged a topless demonstration in Paris today to protest the announcement of the far-right French National Front party's candidacy in the European Parliament elections next month.

Nearly two-dozen FEMEN activists from around the world marched outside the building and blocked the door where Front National leader Marine Le Pen was holding a press conference. At least two members of the group were arrested by French police and subsequently released.

One of FEMEN's leading members left Ukraine after chopping down a holy cross with a chainsaw — topless, of course.

Wearing Hitler mustaches, the activists shouted slogans such as “fascist epidemic,” and painted the European Union flag on their chests, rearranging the gold stars into the shape of a swastika.

“Today marks the debut of our international campaign, which is made up of any militants who wants to join us,” announced one activist in the video below. “We will begin our treatment against this fascist epidemic. We have an effective plan.”

FEMEN described the protest in a statement on their website. “An army of 23 sextremists coming from all over Europe disturbed their press conference, denouncing the coalition of all the European extreme right-wing parties whose objective is to contaminate some further seats in the Parliament.”

The National Front is a nationalist far-right political party in France, known for its hard-line stance on immigration and conservative social policies. Marine Le Pen, the party’s current leader is the youngest daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded the Front National in 1972.

Topless in Times Square: FEMEN Protests Putin in NYC. Watch here.

Marine has been openly critical of Islam, wants a moratorium on legal immigration into the country, and has been accused of xenophobia.

FEMEN was established in Ukraine in 2008 and is a vocal opponent of the rise of the far-right parties in Europe. The group has achieved international recognition for their notorious topless protests.

Photo via Instagram user Souvarina.

Last month, FEMEN held a topless demonstration in Times Square to protest Russia’s incursion into Crimea. Two members were also arrested in Crimea’s capital Simferopol in March during a similar protest against events in Ukraine.

In addition to protesting far-right political parties, FEMEN also says it is dedicated to fighting patriarchy, prostitution, homophobia, and religion.

Since its establishment, FEMEN has expanded to nine different branches and 150,000 members worldwide, in countries that include Germany, Brazil, and Israel. Inna Shevchenko, one of their most prominent members, is now based in France after fleeing Ukraine in 2012. She left after chopping down a holy cross with in a stunt with a chainsaw — topless, of course.

Follow Olivia Becker on Twitter: @obecker928