Accessibility links

Breaking News

Femen Activist Released After Topless Protest At Vatican

Vatican authorities have ordered the release of a Ukrainian activist who bared her breasts while stealing a baby Jesus figurine from the St. Peter's Square nativity scene on December 25.

Yana Azhdanova, a member of the feminist protest group Femen, shouted "God is woman" while uncovering her chest.

A Vatican guard then covered Azhdanova with his cloak and took her into custody.

The action took place about an hour after Pope Francis had offered Christmas greetings to tens of thousands of Catholic worshippers gathered on St. Peter's Square.

Azhdanova had faced possible trial in Vatican City for disturbing the peace, obscene acts in a public place, and theft.

But judicial authorities instead ordered her release and banned her from entering Vatican City or St. Peter's Basilica.

A second protester was arrested December 26 for scaling the facade of St. Peter's to protest new EU rules on tenders for beachfront businesses. He remains in custody.​

Based on reporting by AFP and AP

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.