KIEV — Four young women naked from the waist up barged into a Ukrainian polling station on Sunday and held a rowdy protest just before a candidate in the country's presidential election cast his ballot there.
The women, members of a small feminist group called Femen known for staging eye-catching protests, were hustled out of the Kiev polling station by security guards before Viktor Yanukovich showed up to vote, AFP journalists saw.
"Enough raping our democracy!" shouted the protesters, who held signs with slogans such as "Help! Rape!" and wore nothing except for jeans and strips of green electrical tape over their nipples.
The women told reporters they were protesting against "the end of democracy" in Ukraine and not specifically against Yanukovich or in favour of his rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
They were detained and charged with violating the law on public protests, an administrative offence punishable with a fine, said Volodymyr Mayevski, chief of the security department of Ukraine's interior ministry.
"Since the activists had not applied for permission for the protest and were interfering with the work of the election commission, they were detained and taken to a police station in the capital," Mayevski said in a statement.
The protest came after a bitter election campaign in which many Ukrainians voiced frustration at both candidates, amid deep disillusionment with the country's protracted political stalemate and economic crisis.
Femen, whose members are mostly university students, drew international attention last summer by holding a protest against Ukraine's sex tourism trade where activists picketed in central Kiev wearing bras and panties.
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