Femen Protester Almost Nabs the Mystical Euro Cup

Illustration for article titled Femen Protester Almost Nabs the Mystical Euro Cup

After famously topless Femen protesters crashed the economic bacchanal at Davos in January, Europe has nervously awaited the sensationalist women's rights group's next move. Would they give the popemobile an ironic carwash with egg yolks during Easter, or create a human tableaux of Judith killing Holofernes in protest of Greece electing 21 members of its resident neo-Nazi party to parliament last week? This weekend, the anxious European community finally got its answer — Femen would ruin soccer, or almost ruin soccer, as it turns out.


According to a report from Reuters, a 23-year-old Femen topless taskforce member, Ukranian Yulia Kovpachik, layed hands on the two-foot tall silver Euro Cup while it was on open-air display in Kiev, one of the sites of next month's Euro-2012 soccer tournament. Since Europe is bananas for soccer, security guards seized her almost instantaneously, but not before she pulled down her red t-shirt to reveal the pithy slogan "Fuck Euro 2012" scrawled in what we can only assume was Max Fischer-perfect calligraphy across her chest. The guards quickly covered her with a sheet and led her to an idling police car, almost as if they'd been warned in advance of the attempted theft.

Femen regularly stages topless protests to highlight what it sees as persistent social injustice and gender inequality, both in Ukraine and throughout the rest of the Europe and the Middle East. The group ostensibly arranged the Kiev stunt to protest the sex tourism industry ahead of the upcoming soccer tournament, which Ukraine is co-hosting with Poland. About a million visitors are expected to flood the two countries next month and Femen believes that these interlopers will feed what it is already a booming sex industry. In the wake of Kovpachik's protest, Femen activist Olexandra Shevchenko told reporters, "We came here today to stop this Euro fan low-life from making a bordello out of Ukraine."

Officials had mounted the trophy in Kiev's Independence Square, which has been designated as a "fan-zone" for the duration of the tournament. Hundreds of people were present to get a glimpse of what is essentially a large, shiny cereal bowl, so Femen's demonstration, though thwarted, at least riled the crowd of soccer denizens and maybe made them reconsider their illicit travel sex itineraries.

Topless Ukraine activist grabs Euro soccer cup [Reuters]



This whole "every issue can be brought to the public's attention and therefore solved by throwing topless women at it" thing that FEMEN have going on strikes me as a little naive. Sure, their protests definitely get attention, but it's in the form of "check out the naked chick" headlines, not media response that highlights the issues they're concerned about. After the first few times things went that way and the actual cause got no attention at all you'd think they'd retool their strategy a bit.