photo: Getty

At a Paris conference on Sept. 13, two male fundamentalist preachers leading a discussion about the role of women in Islam were cut short when a set of female topless protesters from FEMEN rushed the stage.

The video, which you can watch below (warning, it's extremely violent) shows the women charging the stage, commanding the microphone, and chanting protests in French and Arabic. Security can be seen rushing toward the women and tackling them off stage, which resulted in a brutal beating that included roughly fifteen men attacking the two women on the ground.

Fortunately, according to Inna Shevchenko, a spokeswoman for the feminist protest group, the women were rescued by police officers and taken away in custody.

So who exactly is FEMEN? Here’s a breakdown:

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  • FEMEN is an international feminist movement that started in the Ukraine in the mid aughts and was born out of the post-soviet youth movements and focuses on the fight against sexual exploitation, dictatorship, and religious oppression.
  • They define their activism as sextremism:
    "A new interpretation of modern feminism, where the naked body becomes an active instrument in confronting institutions of patriarchy — such as the church, dictatorship and the sex industry.”

  • They are topless political activists who paint slogans on their chests and wear flower crowns on their heads. 
  • They have been kidnapped, tortured and threatened with death. 
  • They have protested the World Economic Summit in Davos, against public security law in Madrid, and against prostitution penalties in France.

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