Activists Strip Down to Mark Opening Up of Paris Office
Posted on Sep 19, 2012
Radical feminist group FEMEN—known for its topless demonstrations—on Tuesday christened its new European headquarters with a signature march through Paris’ 18th Arrondissement.
The bare-chested protesters paraded through the famously Muslim-dominated neighborhood with phrases such as “Laïcité [a term denoting French secularism] Muslim: Let’s get naked,” scrawled across their bodies.
“We are in a disadvantaged neighborhood in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Paris, home of radical Islamists. This is not contrary to the strategy of FEMEN, we never sought easy ways. Now, girls stripped regularly parade through the streets of Paris. This will be Ukrainian, but also French, “said FEMEN activist Inna Shevchenko to France’s Chretiente, according to our translation.
The Ukraine-based group will use its new Parisian headquarters as a training site where activists will learn how to “work in high-risk environments,” according to FEMEN’s website. Its first Parisian protest took place hours before the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s publication of cartoons insulting the Prophet Muhammad, which prompted stepped-up security at French embassies in the Middle East.
—Posted by Sara Beladi
The Huffington Post:
“Inna Schevchenko, the activist who made headlines last month for chainsawing an Orthodox cross in support of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, told BFMTV that ‘no one really pays attention to women’s issues, but we saw changes when we started protesting naked, especially because we are sexy and pretty. It became our fighting strategy,’ according to a HuffPost translation”.
FEMEN was founded in 2008 to protest gender discrimination in post-Soviet society, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports. The group has since earned a reputation worldwide for its demonstrations during the London Olympics and the Euro 2012 soccer tournament in Poland.
A bare-chested FEMEN activist poses with the group’s signature floral chaplet.