Naked protest raises temperature outside Tymoshenko court

Naked activists from Ukraine’s feminist movement have occupied the roof of a shopping mall in Kiev despite freezing temperatures. They are calling on their compatriots to “switch on their brains” and rethink their support for Ukrainian politicians.

FEMENists climbed onto a ledge of the capital’s major shopping center which is close to the court where the ex-premier’s case was being heard. Police appeared to be having difficulty reaching them. 

The topless women, dressed in traditional colored headbands, were chanting “Tymoshenko and Yanukovich are one,” and “Switch on your brains!” They also spread out leaflets bearing the same slogans.

As the weather in Kiev on Tuesday showed no respect for the topless action, the women shivered visibly. 

Many supporters of Tymoshenko have also gathered in front of the Pechersky court, shouting insults at the judges. They also threw objects at the naked protesters on the roof. 

The 2,000-strong crowd made up of roughly equal numbers of supporters and opponents of Tymoshenko was cordoned off by the police to prevent possible clashes.

Later police forced both parties away from the front of the court to clear the street for traffic.

The judge announced the court’s verdict in the notorious gas case, stating that Tymoshenko had been found guilty of exceeding her mandate in signing gas contracts with Russia, which were found to be damaging to Ukraine’s state-owned energy company.

Tymoshenko will now participate in the upcoming parliamentary election in 2012 and presidential election in 2015 from behind the bars.

The opposition leader insists that she is the victim of a vendetta by Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich.