Activists of the group FEMEN protested topless at Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral to celebrate Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, the first pope to resign in 600 years.
On their Facebook page, the group posts:
NO MORE POPE! FEMEN France sextremists played a funeral march by ringing bells of the citadel of Catholicism Notre Dame de Paris for the Pope. The fight between activists and grieving popephiles and the security took place during the action. The stuff of the museum decided to switch off the light to obstruct the work of journalists. FEMEN France noted the final hour of the homophobic Pope
On Tuesday, Protesters chanted “Bye bye Benedict” and “No more homophobe” with slogans over their naked chests such as “Crisis of faith” and “In Gay We Trust.” “FEMEN is congratulating the whole progressive world with the resignation of fascist Benedict XVI from the place of the head of the Catholic mafia,” also written on the group’s Facebook page. “It’s symbolic that today is the day of the voting of law of same-sex marriage in France. The ex-Pope was a fierce opponent of gay marriages. FEMEN applaud the complete capitulation of the middle age homophobia! Pope go to the devil! Viva common sense! Viva freedom!”
The 85-year-old pope announced that his resignation would take place on February 28, as his deteriorating health will distract him from performing his duties to the Catholic institution. He claimed his “strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”
“I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering,” says the Pope in his official statement.
Founded in 2008, FEMEN is a feminist protest group originating in Kiev, Ukraine that has campaigned against sex tourism, sexism, international marriage agencies, and religious organizations. With a membership of over 15,000 followers, they advocate for gay and women’s rights with their signature topless protesting.
“This is the only way to be heard in this country,” according to a statement on their site. “If we staged simple protests with banners, then our claims would not have been noticed.”
FEMEN has held demonstrations in support of Pussy Riot, a Russian punk band incarcerated for their LGBT support, with signs reading “Fuck Putin” and “Free Pussy Riot.” They’ve also held demonstrations against the Olympics’ support for radical Islamist regimes.
Paris has gained much press in LGBT news with the recent approval of marriage equality and protesters on both sides of the argument demonstrating in the hundreds of thousands.