Human rights

Topless Femen activist “hangs” from bridge to protest Iran president’s Paris visit

An activist from women's rights group FEMEN hangs from a bridge as they stage a protest against Iran's President Hassan Rouhani's visit to Paris, on January 28, 2016. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

A topless activist has staged a mock hanging from a Paris bridge, to protest the visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to France. The member of women’s rights group Femen was “hanged” from the Debilly footbridge, execution-style, with an Iranian flag painted on her chest.

Rouhani is in the French capital to formalize new business deals between the two countries, after economic sanctions to Iran were lifted in 2015. Femen France’s spokesperson Sarah Constantin said: “We organised this public display as a little reminder of the fact that every year, more than 800 people are sentenced to death in [Iran]. Among them are women, feminists, homosexuals, and free-thinkers who are rotting on death row, just because they are free-thinkers. And Francois Hollande doesn’t take any of this into account.

“It shows that Francois Hollande doesn’t care about human rights. The only thing he cares about is business. Shame on Francois Hollande. Shame on Rouhani”.

Above the protester, a sign was strung across the bridge, reading: “Welcome Rohani, executioner of freedom.”

Rouhani’s three-day visit to Rome earlier this week, that included meetings with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the Pope, attracted headlines after plain white boards were seen obscuring nude sculptures in the Capitoline Museum, for fear of causing offense to the conservative Islamic leader. Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini told reporters on Wednesday that neither he nor Italian Premier Matteo Renzi authorized the cover-up, AP reported. Franceschini said: “I think there easily would have been other ways to not offend an important foreign guest without this incomprehensible choice of covering up the statues.”

Read the full story at International Business Times and see footage of the protest at Radio Free Europe.

Related:

Nude sculptures covered for Iran president’s visit to Rome museum

Women’s rights activists in Iran increasingly face jail time amid cultural crackdown

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