Ukrainian protesters return after Belarus ordeal

"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.

Activist Inna Shevchenko's hair had been dyed green and some of it cut off in the back.

The three activists' protest took place on the steps of the KGB headquarters and was one of multiple demonstrations against Lukashenko on the first anniversary of his re-election. Agents quickly broke up that demonstration and arrested several journalists and Femen's Australian videographer Kitti Green, Femen said. The group said Green was deported to Lithuania.

Lukashenko has repressed opposition and independent media since becoming leader of the former Soviet republic in 1994.

In December 2010 elections, he was declared winner of a new term, but tens of thousands of protesters assembled to denounce alleged vote fraud. Police harshly broke up that demonstration and arrested around 700 people, some of whom remain in jail, including two of the candidates who opposed Lukashenko.

Femen activists have become popular in Ukraine for staging half-naked protests, and they have conducted some in other countries.


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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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