On Tuesday, cops in Kiev dispersed self-styled “sextremist” topless protesters from the Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN overnight after they attempted to storm a building where Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko was staying, the group said on its website. President Lukashenko, once dubbed by American officials as the “last dictator in Europe”, is in the Ukrainian capital for a two-day official visit. The activists carried burning torches and with daubed slogans, including “Viva Belarus”, “Dictator, Get Out!”, on their bodies, tried to break through security at the residence in downtown Kiev where Lukashenko was staying. Ukrainian riot police prevented them from entering the building and rounded them up. The group said it staged the protest to remind Lukashenko of what it called “the brutal harassment” of FEMEN activists in the forest near the Belarusian town of Gomel in 2011, following another topless demonstration near KGB headquarters in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. FEMEN said their protest also aimed to highlight the plight of independent journalists in Belarus who they claim have “disappeared” after criticising the Lukashenko régime, and of hundreds of political prisoners allegedly “illegally” held in Belarusian prison camps. The group also cited the case of the men who jailed and executed “without any proof” for their alleged role in a deadly bomb attack on the Minsk subway in 2011. The group said in a statement on its website, “FEMEN calls the world to psychological war with dictators! Watch them night and day, don’t let them act!”
In recent weeks, FEMEN carried out a series of high-profile protests abroad. On Monday, FEMEN activists issued a statement on their website saying they “can no longer watch passively” whilst Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan uses force against demonstrators on Istanbul’s Taksim Square, which has been at the centre of mass riots in the country for over a fortnight. The group appealed for money to pay for travel to Turkey, where they threatened to “fight chest to chest” against what it called the “dictatorship” of Erdoğan. In May, Tunisian police arrested FEMEN activists from France and Germany after they made a topless protest in front of Tunisia’s Palace of Justice, after the arrest of a local FEMEN activist following an earlier protest. FEMEN began in the Ukraine in 2008, initially, to protest on women’s rights issues. The group has since made headlines with topless protests around the world on a variety of other political issues.
18 June 2013
It takes all kinds! These gals have figured out that if you give the media “T & A”, you’ll always get publicity. They aren’t dumb blondes, that’s for sure. The Ukrainian coppers in the image seem nonplussed, though. That’s part of their strategy, too. As I said, they’re not dumb blondes…