SHARE
COPY LINK

FEMEN

Femen fights for right to protest topless in France

The Paris-based topless feminist group Femen is fighting for its right to protest bare-chested, saying the laws preventing its members from displaying their upper bodies to get their messages across are nothing short of discrimination against women.

Femen fights for right to protest topless in France
Zhdanova was the first Femen activist to be convicted of topless protesting in France. Photo: AFP file picture

Iana Zhdanova was the first Femen activist to be convicted of a topless stunt in France.

But she is determined to fight the 2014 conviction for sexual exhibitionism claiming it is based purely based on discrimination against women.

“For us at Femen, our chests are our weapons,” she was quoted as telling French daily Le Parisien.

“Women’s chests are used to advertise perfumes or in TV shows, and that’s OK. But when it has anything to do with activism, it’s suddenly shocking,” she said.

Zhdanova, who was forced to seek political asylum in France after similar protests in her native Ukraine, was convicted of “sexual exhibitionism” by a French court in 2014 after stabbing a waxdoll of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at Paris’s Grévin museum.

She had the text “kill Putin” written across her naked chest.

But she argues that she shouldn't be convicted of sexual exhibitionism, given that she is protesting and that men would not be subject to same charge if they bared their chests.

Her lawyer, Marie Dosé said that the ruling against her client was running against all principals in regards to equality between men and women.

“In the ruling it’s written in black and white,” she said.

“It clearly states that a woman who shows off her torso in public can be subject to prosecution, while a man won’t be, unless he shows off his genitals.”

During France's anti-gay marriage protests a right-wing group of men,who named themselves Hommen protested bare-chested. None of them were prosecuted for sexual exhibitionism.

Zhdanova’s appeal is due in court on Thursday.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

FEMEN

Topless protesters held in bid to ‘welcome’ Trump to Paris

French police on Sunday arrested three topless rights protesters who approached the motorcade of US President Donald Trump on the Champs-Elysees in Paris heading to a ceremony marking 100 years since the end of World War I.

Topless protesters held in bid to 'welcome' Trump to Paris
A Femen is dragged out of the way by French police. Photo: Sam Loeb/AFP
One of the protesters, who had slogans including “fake peacemakers” and “hypocrisy parade” written on their chests, got within metres of the rear of the motorcade after jumping over a barricade.
   
She was grabbed by a police officer, while a second woman could be seen being hauled away by security services on the edge of the famous thoroughfare.    A third woman, who was positioned a little higher up the avenue, also managed to breach the security cordon and run towards Trump's convoy with her arms raised.
   
She too was quickly overpowered by the police and all three were arrested. 
 
The incident revealed chinks in the tight security put in place for the event, with some 10,000 security force members deployed around a city which has been hit by a series of jihadist attacks since 2015.
   
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Trump's security had “in no way been threatened”.
   
Inna Shevchenko, one of the leaders of radical feminist group Femen, confirmed the group was behind the protest.
 
Constance Lefèvre, another activist who was among the crowd but did not participate in the protest, told AFP that Femen was protesting the presence in Paris of leaders “who are responsible for most of the world's conflicts”.
   
She cited Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan, among others.
   
Trump's motorcade briefly paused due to the breach of security before continuing on to the Arc de Triomphe where around 70 world leaders had gathered to mark the centenary of the Armistice.
   
Three Femen protesters had already demonstrated at the Arc De Triomphe on Saturday morning to denounce the presence of “war criminals” among the guests at the ceremony.
   
The three were also arrested.
 
Femen activists also protested earlier on Saturday outside L'Arc de Triomphe. Photo: Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP
 
SHOW COMMENTS