The all-female protest group Femen has opened its headquarters in Paris. The group, founded by Ukrainian feminist activists, has become widely known for its nude protests against the violation of women’s right and violence against women. According to the Ukranian news agency Interfax, the office will serve as “an international training camp” for feminists.
The move has been prompted partly by the Ukrainian authorities’ refusal to allow the group to register, since it regards Femen as extremists. However, the group has also moved to France to campaign against the burkha, the full veil worn by a minority of Muslims women. The veil has proved highly controversial in France. Wearing it in public was officially banned in the country in 2011.
According to the Voice of Russia, the group wants “to draw attention to the problem by wearing slogans urging Muslim women to undress. France, which is 10% Muslim, found nothing extremist in our group, Irina Shevchenko from FEMEN told VoR.”
Earlier in the year, members of the group protested outside the Olympics in London against the participation of “Islamic states” in the games, which Femen accuses of subjugating women under sharia (Islamic law).
Femen activists also protested outside of the Paris apartment of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, after he was accused of raping a maid in his New York hotel room. More recently, Femen also supported the all-girl Russian anarchist punk band Pussy Riot after members were put on trieal and convicted after they burst into a cathedral an sang songs condemning Vladimir Putin and mocking Christianity.