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Co-founder of Femen feminist group found dead in Paris

Oksana Shachko, one of the founders of the Femen feminist protest movement, has been found dead in her Paris apartment, the group said on Monday.

Co-founder of Femen feminist group found dead in Paris
Photo: AFP

Activists from Femen, known for its bold topless protests, said the 31-year-old Ukrainian had been found on Monday with a suicide note next to her body.

“It is with great regret and deep pain that I must confirm the death of Oksana,” said Inna Shevchenko, one of Femen's leaders, who also lives in the French capital.

Another Femen founder, Anna Gutsol, wrote on Facebook: “RIP. The most fearless and vulnerable Oksana Shachko has left us.

“We mourn together with her relatives and friends,” she said, adding that the group was awaiting “the official version from the police”.

Shachko was one of four feminist activists who founded Femen in Ukraine in 2008. 

Exiled in France since 2013, she had since left the group and was working as an artist.

Operating under the slogan “I came, I stripped, I won,” Femen quickly drew attention around the world with its bare-breasted protests against sexism.

Their protests eventually started targeting authoritarianism and racism, with Russia's Vladimir Putin a particular target, alongside France's far-right 
National Front party.

But in recent years the group has struggled with internal divisions as well as legal proceedings against its members.

In 2011, Femen said Shachko was among three members “kidnapped” by security agents and forced to strip naked in a forest after staging a topless protest mocking Belarussian strongman Alexander Lukashenko.

The agents had poured oil over the three women, threatened to set them on fire, and cut off their hair, Femen said. 

She was abducted again by unknown assailants during a visit by Putin to Ukraine, according to the group.

Femen's lawyer said Shachko was beaten so badly that she was briefly hospitalised.

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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
 
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