A protester from the Femen activist group tried to snatch the statue of the Child Jesus from the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican Monday morning before being stopped by the police.
The topless woman threw herself on the manger scene shouting, “God is a woman,” a slogan she also bore painted on her bare back:
Officers of the Vatican gendarmerie intercepted the woman and arrested her with the help of Italian police just as she reached the manger. The incident occurred Monday morning about two hours before the traditional Christmas message Pope Francis addressed to about 50 thousand people present in the square.
According to Femen’s website, the activist’s name is Alisa Vinogradova, who describes herself as a “sextremist.” Femen, a Ukrainian militant feminist group whose stated mission is to gain “complete victory over patriarchy,” has drawn attention to itself through the naked antics of its members, who oppose religion and organized government and agitate for gay rights and “a world without religion.” The feminist group says its goal is “protest” and its weapons are “bare breasts.”
Monday’s was the latest of several such attempts of the feminist group against the Vatican.
In November 2014, three members of Femen desecrated crucifixes in Saint Peter’s Square in criticism of Pope Francis’s visit to the European Parliament. Dressed only in black leather miniskirts, the three got down on all fours and simulated anal sex with wooden crucifixes until the police carried them off.
As police took the women away, one of them chanted in English, “The pope is not a politician; God is not a magician.” Femen called the pope’s visit to the EU Parliament “a direct attack on secularism.”
A month later, the group carried out an incident similar to Monday’s, when another Femen member attempted to steal the statue of Jesus from the Nativity scene.
Femen was originally formed in Ukraine to oppose “the pro-Kremlin regime,” but the group also protests the Catholic Church, especially for its stand on gay marriage and abortion.