PARIS, April 15 - RAPSI. An investigation has been launched against FEMEN activists who staged a topless rally in Paris' Notre Dame cathedral after Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Philippe Lalliot told reporters Monday.
He refused to comment on the punishment that the women may face for taking their clothes off in church or if Russian and Ukrainian nationals were among them.
On Feb. 12, eight young women - reportedly one Ukrainian and seven French citizens - penetrated the cathedral the day after the pope’s resignation wearing long coats. They then stripped down near the altar and started beating the church bells with sticks chanting, “Pope no more,” in English. The activists’ bodies were painted with slogans like, “Crisis of faith,” “Bye-bye Benedict!” and “No more homophobia!”
They continued chanting pro-gay marriage and adoption slogans for 10 minutes after the security guards escorted them outside.
The organization posted photographs of the affair and provided the following statement on its website: “FEMEN plays a sound for the departure of homophobe Pope with bells of Notre Dame. Femen greets all the progressive world with the quiting of benedict XVI, leader of catholic mafia. It is symbolic that this day coincides with the adoption of the law on same-sex marriage. Pope has been an ardent opponent of this law.” [Sic.]
The latter point was in reference the passage of a French bill legalizing gay marriage and adoption through both houses of parliament.
FEMEN is a social-activist organization that originated in the Ukraine and has developed an international reputation for waging high-visibility protests while topless. Dubbing this movement “sextremism,” the group claims on its website that it seeks to protect women’s rights and democracy via attacks on the “patriarchy” in all its forms. The organization boasts: “The magic of the body get your interested, the courage of the act make you want to riot. Come out, Go topless and Win!”