Topless Femen deface Christian cross in Vatican (GRAPHIC VIDEO)
The three women pulled of their stunt on St. Peter's Square, the enormous plaza located right in front of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City.
Two of them had “Keep it Inside” scrawled across their backs, an apparent reference to their anger that the Pope’s activities extend beyond the tiny papal enclave in Rome.
The trio, decked out in nothing but black ankle boots, leather miniskirts, and flower garlands in their hair, dropped to all fours and began simulating a lewd act with the crucifixes.
WARNING! GRAPHIC VIDEO. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
Police immediately swarmed on the women as bemused tourists snapped photographs. Covering the women’s bared breasts with coats, the cops dragged them off, with one of the women crying: “The pope is not a politician, god is not a magician.”
According to the Local’s Italian language addition, the protest was organized to protest the Pope’s planned visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg later this month.
The protesters say the visit is an attack on Europe’s secular principles. It remains unclear if any of the women will face criminal charges.
Friday’s guerilla action is not the first time the group has tried their hand at employing religious iconography to prove a political point.
In February 2013, Eight Femen activists stripped down in Paris’ iconic Notre Dame cathedral to mark Pope Benedict XVI's resignation in typically scandalous fashion.
One month prior, St Peter’s Square was chosen as the ideal staging ground to stage a protest against the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality.
In October, a Femen activist faced a three to four months
suspended sentence and a $2,000 fine for a December 2013 action
which involved a mock abortion at The Madeleine Church in Paris.
A verdict is expected next month.
Critics, however, decried what they said was an unfair double standard after a group which placed a pig’s head outside a mosque in the French overseas territory of Mayotte were convicted of “incitement to hatred, violence or discrimination because of religious affiliation.” The perpetrators in that case were given prison time.