France: Activists on trial for topless Notre Dame equal marriage protest

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A group of activists stood trial today after taking part in a topless pro-equal marriage protest.

The members of feminist collective Femen were arrested last year for baring their breasts in Notre Dame Cathedral.

The protest took place in February 2013 over the Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage, and to celebrate the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

The group burst into the church shouting “Pope no more!”, “No more homophobe” and “Bye bye Benedict!”.

The group are well known for their topess protests, and have also staged demonstrations for equality in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.

The protesters – who appeared at the trial wearing matching t-shirts and garlands of flowers – could face fines of €1,500 euros (£1200) each for damaging property.

The also face charges of crimes against religious sentiments and sexual exhibitionism in front of children.

Prosecutors requested a suspended sentence for guards who are accused of violence while removing the protesters.

The court will issue a verdict on September 10.

Femen activists also face charges of trespassing for their protest outside the Russian embassy in Stockholm.