Belarus: Ukrainian Protesters Recount Ordeal

A group of women from a Ukrainian topless-protest group on Wednesday recounted their ordeal in Belarus, where they claimed they were kidnapped, beaten and abused by local security officials.

Oksana Shechko told the Associated Press that she and two fellow activists with Femen were interrogated on a bus for 12 hours, made to undress in the woods in freezing temperatures, punched in the head and back, threatened with death and rape, smeared with paint and had some of their hair cut off.

Shechko charged that the Belarusian authorities were punishing them for a protest in Minsk on Monday in which they bared their breasts to bring attention to President Aleksander Lukashenko's crackdown on the opposition.

"It was a real fight for survival," Shechko said after returning to Kyiv, her voice trembling. "We ended up in the hands of the butchers who kill and terrify the Belarusian people."

Shechko, 24, said that at one point the activists were made to sit still on a bus for several hours, prevented from speaking or moving.

"If we moved our heads or hands, they beat us, it was very painful," Shechko said.

The activists were finally left half-naked in a freezing forest, where they eventually found help from area residents and contacted the Ukrainian embassy.


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The mission of the "FEMEN" movement is to create the most favourable conditions for the young women to join up into a social group with the general idea of the mutual support and social responsibility, helping to reveal the talents of each member of the movement.

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