Topless women made a scene in "celebration" of Pope Benedict's retirement.
A Paris court on Wednesday threw out a legal complaint against nine activists who bared their breasts in a protest at Notre Dame Cathedral but ruled that three security guards who restrained the women were too violent.
On February 12, 2013, nine topless members of the feminist protest group “Femen” burst into Notre Dame to "celebrate" Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. They also wanted to express anger at the Church’s opposition to same-sex "marriage," according to the Associated Press. The women vandalized one of the bells on display in the cathedral.
As three security guards tried to remove the struggling Femen protestors, one of the women had her hair pulled and a tooth broken.
Prosecutors requested a fine of 1,500 euros against each of the Femen agitators. However, at a hearing on July 9, the criminal court acquitted the Femen, but kept in place the misdemeanor fines of 250, 300, and 500 euros against the three guards. (This way, the guards are sure to understand that the next time the cathedral is taken over by activists screaming and hitting at whatever falls to hand, they should not lift a finger for fear of having to pay a steep bill.)
In its ruling this week, the court found there was insufficient evidence of any material damage by the activists.
Wearing flower garlands in their hair, the activists hailed the verdict and vowed to press on with protests against religious institutions.
Prosecutors and Notre Dame have 10 days to decide whether to seek an appeal. The Paris prosecutor has decided to appeal.
Welcome to the brave new world—one in which the Femen can perform the most odious provocations in the cathedral of Paris with impunity and three unfortunate security guards are charged with "violence" and fined.
The verdict of this first trial of the Femen in France leaves a bitter taste. Waving the banner of secularism and shouting "crime of blasphemy," the Femen skillfully exploited the total confusion that reigns today in France in regard to the notion of "laicité” (secularism).
This article originally appeared in Aleteia’s French edition. The Associated Press contributed to this article.