Swedish PM’s speech interrupted by topless protesters

Swedish PM’s speech interrupted by topless protesters

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s speech in Almedalen was interrupted by topless protesters from feminist group Femen, before they were apprehended by authorities.

Four females, consisting of two French women, a Swede and a Spaniard, tried to get onto the stage where the prime minister was speaking in order to protest the mining seminar that was being staged in the city last week and the damage mining could do to the environment. The women chanted “no mining boom” and “lobbyists go home” before being arrested by police.

Swedish activist Jenny Wenhammer, who was later released because she did not show her breasts, explained that they wanted to let the most powerful person in Sweden hear their message because he was the man that could influence the current mining boom. She said the only reason she did not bare her breasts was because, by chance, she was unable to, adding that she was “not satisfied” with her contribution.

Reinfeldt tried to make light of the protest by commenting that freedom of speech often takes on “different guises”. However, he later said that protesters should show respect to those who turn up to listen to speeches.

Originally a women’s group from Ukraine, Femen carries out its protests, generally by appearing topless, to raise democracy and equality issues. In Sweden, they have staged a number of demonstrations, including a topless protest at a mosque and baring their breasts outside the Russian embassy in Stockholm to show their support for gay rights ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.