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Femen topless protesters on trial for sexual exhibition

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A Femen member is manhandled at a demonstration by right-wing Catholic group Civitas in 2012 AFP/Kenzo Tribouillard

Four activists from topless protest movement Femen appeared in a Paris court on Wednesday, accused of "sexual exhibition" at two anti-gay marriage demonstrations.


"My torso is not obscene," one of the accused, Sophia Antoine, told the court. "What is obscene is patriarchy and homophobia. I am not a criminal, I use my body for political causes. I'm a feminist."

Antoine and her fellow accused burst into anti-gay marriage demonstrations in 2016 with their breasts bare and their upper bodies painted with slogans.

Prosecutors are calling for 500-euro fines for each of the Femen activists, arguing that the law defines the exposure of a woman's chest as sexual exhibitionism.

"It's yes to using women's bodies for commercial purposes. But, when it comes to using them for political purposes, it's no," commented the activists laywer Valentine Reberiaux.

Femen activists frequently appear in court and cases of sexual exhibition against them have been dismissed on several occasions.

The verdict in this case will be passed on 28 June.