Two topless women were arrested in France over the weekend after they jumped on stage at an event in Pontoise — about an hour away from Paris — as preachers discussed the role of Muslim women.
The unnamed protesters, aged 25 and 31, ripped off their Arab-styled cloaks, grabbed the microphones from the stage and began shouting feminist slogans in Arabic and French and punching the air as the two men leading the conference retreated to the back of the stage, according to the Telegraph.
One of the protesters had the words, “I am my own prophet” written across her chest. The other’s chest read, “No one subjugates me.”
Both had messages written in black across their chests with one translating as: “Nobody makes me submit.”
As the event descended into chaos, one woman was hauled away by a security guard while her fellow protester continued her chants on stage. Moments later, several men viciously grabbed the second woman and roughly shoved her offstage, causing her to fall.
More men gathered around the second woman, with some, including a security guard, appearing to try and hold the other men back. However, one of the men seemed to have tried to punch the woman and another repeatedly kicked her while she was on the ground.
The woman are part of FEMEN, a feminist protest group that has participated in many topless protests since being founded in Ukraine in 2008 and since moving their base to Paris.
Inna Shevchenko, a spokeswoman for the protest group, told the Telegraph that the demonstration occurred while the fundamentalist preachers were discussing “whether wives should be beaten or not.”
Shevchenko said some of the men shouted “kill them” and “dirty whores.” She thanked the police officers for keeping the two women safe after their demonstration.
The women were taken into custody and released after being questioned by authorities, who said they would continue investigating what happened. Conference officials said they do plan to press charges against the activists.
They were not alone in disagreeing with the presence of fundamentalist preachers at the event, where shopping and cooking were showcased as appropriate “feminine activities”. One speaker at the conference has reportedly posted calls on social networks for women to veil their faces or risk hellfire and sexual assault in the afterlife.
Nearly 6,000 people signed an online petition against the event.