• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Femen HQ hit by fire after 'witches' death threat

AFP/The Local · 22 Jul 2013, 08:57

Published: 22 Jul 2013 08:57 GMT+02:00

A pre-dawn fire damaged the Paris office of the radical topless feminist group Femen on Sunday in what police were treating as an accident.

But the group called it a "disturbing coincidence", noting that the Paris branch, headquartered in a working-class district in the northeast of the city, had recently received a phone message calling the activists "witches" who should "burn".

The fire broke out at 5:00 am (0300 GMT) in a room where Ukrainian activist Inna Shevchenko, who was recently granted asylum in France, has been sheltering.

She was not present at the time, though several members of the group were sleep in the offices located on the building's second and top floors.

Among them were Pauline Hillier and Marguerite Stern, who were detained for nearly a month in Tunisia after a topless protest on May 29.

Firefighters said no one was injured.

But Hillier said the group was "shocked" by the incident and "would like to know what really happened".

She said: "We get death threats every day. Yesterday we received a message that said 'burn witches'.

"We find that there are many coincidences and this has happened just one week after the stamp controversy," she said.

Story continues below…

Shevchenko was said to have partly inspired a new stamp released on Bastille Day, France's national day, bearing the image of Marianne, the female symbol of the French Republic.

That sparked fierce controversy, with critics of Femen denouncing the new Marianne as a "Christianophobe, hater and ideologue".

Earlier this month Shevchenko provoked Muslim ire when she tweeted at the beginning of Ramadan: "What could be more stupid than Ramadan? What is uglier than this religion?"

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French mayors dismiss suspended burqini ban
Photo: Jean Christophe Magnenet /AFP

The row over France’s burqini ban continues with several mayors vowing to keep restrictions in place despite the country’s top court suspending the ban in the resort town of Villeneuve-Loubet.

France's top court suspends burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court has suspended a town's ban on wearing the full-body burqini swimsuit.

Milk price raised, but French farmers still unhappy
The sign on the tractor reads 'We're dying', as farmers blocked Lactalis dairy headquarters. Photo: AFP

Milk prices have been raised by France's biggest dairy group to placate farmers, but unions say their demands have not been met.

Burqini bans 'dividing France's Muslim women'
Photo: AFP

The burqini bans have divided France, but they have also left Muslim women in France in two groups, argues a professor who has spent years studying the impact of the burqa.

Pizza-delivery drones could be on their way to France
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's your pizza. Photo: AFP

No more need to deal with grumpy French waiters...

Heatwave drags on as France faces red-hot weekend
Photo: AFP

France will see searing temperatures on Friday and Saturday, as the heatwave warnings have been extended (once again).

Nice: The French capital of burqini fines
The beach in the Riviera city of Nice. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

It's one of only two of the 30 towns with a burqini ban in place to have actually given out any fines.

How to make France's famed Île Flottante dessert
Photo: Paul Oatway

France-based food blogger Laura Tobin shares her recipe for this delicious French dessert.

France's top court set to rule on burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court will decide this afternoon whether to overturn the burqini ban.

Corsica bushfire leaves 500 hectares scorched
Photos: AFP

A massive fire left 500 hectares of bushland in Corsica ravaged.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Education
French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
National
Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
Society
Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Politics
Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Meet the man paying off burqini fines in France
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
2,761
jobs available