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Topless Protesters Surprise Putin in Germany

Published: April 8, 2013 (Issue # 1753)




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Up to several hundreds protesters, including three bare-breasted women, greeted President Vladimir Putin at the start of his two-day visit to Germany on Monday, when he also met with Chancellor Angela Merkel and participated in the opening of the Hanover Messe industrial trade show.

The crowd of protesters, which media variously estimated at between several dozen and several hundred people, harangued Putin over Pussy Riot's jailing, restrictions on gays, and the unsolved killings of journalists, as well as the Kremlin's tacit support of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But the most eye-catching protest involved three topless protesters from the radical feminist group Femen, one of whom got within arms-length of Putin and Merkel, startling the German leader, while an apparently unfazed Putin gave the woman a "two thumbs up" gesture.

"I liked the stunt," he later told reporters. Putin said he didn't hear what the women said and suggested that bodyguards, who whisked them away, could have been "a bit gentler." "I didn't even see if they were blondes or brunettes or dark-haired," he said, Kommersant reported.

A Kommersant reporter at the scene offered a different account. "They heard and saw everything," Oleg Zinkovsky told Kommersant-FM radio. Photographs show that the women had "[expletive] dictator" written in Russian and English on their torsos.

The street protesters, too, apparently failed to get their message across. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the demonstrations as a "normal tradition in Germany" and said the Russian delegation had not even seen them, Itar-Tass reported.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Dec. 26


Celebrate Boxing Day by playing various tabletop games during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening tonight at 5 p.m. Spread the Christmas cheer and goodwill by making other people regret their decision to come and try to match their intellectual prowess against yours.



Saturday, Dec. 27


Indulge cultural and material needs simultaneously during the free classical music concert at the Galeria shopping mall in the heart of the city. Starting at 7 p.m., shoppers and mallwalkers will be able to hear the sounds of Tchaikovsky and Strauss softly lilt over the constant buzz of people bustling from store to store, trying to get their shopping done before New Year.



Sunday, Dec. 28


Prepare for the holidays at the Russian Winter New Year’s Fair on Moskovskaya Ploshchad, which concludes today after starting on Dec. 22. Games and attractions as well as numerous performances will be on offer for those looking to get into the spirit while numerous vendors will help make sure you have something for everyone on your list.



Monday, Dec. 29


Learn how the Swedes observe Christmas, or Jul, in their land of ice and snow, during aSwedish Christmas celebration at the Lermontov Children’s Library this afternoon at 4 p.m. Activities explaining and demonstrating Sweden’s cultural traditions will be accompanied by traditional dishes and sweets.



Tuesday, Dec. 30


Today is the final day of the Christmas Market at the Europolis shopping center on Polyustrovsky prospekt. Indulge your holiday sweet tooth by tucking into some gingerbread men, or attend one of the master classes that will teach you about how to make beautiful, festive decorations for your tree using only your hands.



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