Three Ukrainian activists from the feminist movement Femen disappeared on Monday in Belarus after staging a topless protest near Minsk's KGB headquarters against the authoritarian rule of President Alexander Lukashenko, the movement said on its web site.
The semi-naked activists, Inna Shevchenko, Oksana Shachko and Alexandra Nemchinova gathered in front of the Minsk KGB headquarters on Monday, marking the one-year anniversary of a crackdown on the opposition that followed protests against the reelection of Lukashenko. The girls were chanting “Long live, Belarus” and raising posters “Freedom to political prisoners.”
Soon after the protests police arrested the Femen operator, an Australian journalist, Kitti Green, who was later deported to Vilnius, while the whereabouts of the girls who managed to escape is still unknown, Femen’s head Anna Gutsol told RIA Novosti.
“We still can not contact the girls as their telephones are switched off and none of the Minsk police stations confirmed their arrest,” Gutsol said.
The leader of the movement said that Belarusian security services were likely behind their disappearance.
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that it had not received any information about the activists’ detention but Ukrainian diplomats in Minsk are investigating the case, ministry’s press service said.
Topless protests have been used on a number of occasions by Femen activists to attract public attention to various domestic and international problems, most of them are university students.
The Femen's protest in Minsk was dedicated to 2010’s violent crackdown on opposition when hundreds of people were detained during large-scale protests that broke out in Minsk following presidential elections, which saw president Lukashenko win a landslide victory, with almost 80 percent of the vote.
The opposition then said the polls were rigged. The elections were also criticized by international observers.