May 21, 2012, 11:38 AM EDT
A bare-breasted, neo-feminist protest group has declared war on the European Soccer Championships, promising to descend on the month-long tournament with a series of flash-mob style topless demonstrations. I’ll have to admit, that sentence was a lot of fun to write.
The photo here shows one of the members of the Femen group, Julia Kovpachik, attacking the Euro 2012 tournament trophy during a pre-tournament event in Kiev on May 12 (video below). The Euro 2012 tournament is being held in Poland and the Ukraine beginning June 9, and is expected to draw upwards of a million visitors. Femen contends that the tournament draws fuels sex tourism, and that Russia’s prostitution industry demeans women. Said Femen member Anna Hutsol:
“We are going to do everything we can to interrupt and disrupt, to break up these (Euro) events,” Anna said.
She says she has 40 or so Femen activists on stand-by for action in Kiev with two or three in each of the other Euro cities — Lviv, Kharkiv and Donetsk.
“We’ve got people coming from abroad too — a Brazilian woman and someone from France,” she said.
Someone from France? That’s bringing out the big guns.
It’s somewhat lost on me how a topless protest will stop men from demeaning women, but then mine is not to question their methods.
Euro-2012 will help make Ukraine one big Euro brothel,” says Sasha Shevchenko, a tall, blonde 24-year-old and a regular participant in topless actions.
Though prostitution is illegal in Ukraine, pimps regularly work central Kiev streets, such as the Khreshchatyk boulevard, handing out visiting cards for erotic massage parlours or walking up to foreign men to direct them to apartments for sex.
Equally, young women often complain they are approached on the streets and propositioned for sex by foreigners.
Prostitution parlours have sprung up in many apartment blocks in advance of the Euros, Femen says.
Femen’s argument is that Ukraine’s authorities and UEFA, Europe’s governing soccer body, have turned a blind eye to the directors of the sex trade who have set up shop well in advance.
“UEFA has social programmes like, for instance, ‘football without racism’. Why can’t it set up the programme ‘football without prostitution or sex tourism’?,” asked Anna.
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