Sat, Jun 23, 2012 - Page 19 News List

EURO 2012: Topless protester invades psychic pig’s pen

Reuters, KIEV

Security guards detain a half-naked activist from the women’s rights group Femen on Thursday as she protests against prostitution in the cage of Funtik, left, the pig which predicts the results of the Euro 2012 matches, in the fan zone in Kiev, Ukraine.

Photo: Reuters

A topless protest by Ukraine’s Femen women’s rights group spiced up feeding time for Ukraine’s Euro 2012 psychic pig, Funtik, as soccer fans waited to see who he would choose to win Thursday’s quarter-final.

Ukraine’s tournament mascot had been dozing in his pen in temperatures of 30oC, but stirred and got up when he heard the familiar sound of the gate opening for his afternoon meal.

Funtik is given two bowls to eat from daily, each marked by the national flag of two teams playing each other at the finals.

Those who have faith in his psychic powers say the bowl he eats from first will prove to be the winner on the night.

However, even before a fan-zone steward could bring in his food — a bowlful each for Portugal and the Czech Republic, who clashed in Warsaw — an activist for Femen barged into the pen.

Olexandra Nemchinova, 31, following the pattern of previous Femen bare-breast protests, ripped off her blouse to reveal the words “Fuck Euro 2012” on her torso and began shouting slogans denouncing the tournament being co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland.

Stewards led Nemchinova out of the pen and handed her over to the local police.

The group carries out topless protests to highlight the growth of the sex industry in Ukraine and has targeted the championship — which it says feeds sex tourism — and UEFA president Michel Platini.

Femen later issued a statement saying the demonstration had been a birthday “gift” to Platini, who turned 57 on Thursday.

The statement said Kiev’s fan zone, where hundreds of soccer lovers drink beer and watch Euro 2012 matches on big screens, was nothing more than “a cattle pen for deceived fans who are seduced by swill in the form of beer and mindless entertainment.”

It was the second Femen protest in two days in Kiev’s city center fan zone, where the numbers of tourists have dwindled following the departure of up to 20,000 Swedish supporters whose team was eliminated in the group stages.

Ahead of the European Championship, which began in Poland on June 8 and ends with the final in Kiev on July 1, the Femen group threatened a wave of actions to disrupt the tournament.

Its activists made two attempts to seize the tournament’s Henri Delaunay trophy when it was on public display in various towns around Ukraine before the tournament started.

Funtik, the pig, seemed unperturbed by the uproar going on around him on Thursday.

He sniffed Nemchinova’s blouse and later dived into his bowls of food, demolishing both of them in short order.

Funtik has had something of a hit-and-miss record in choosing winners up to now.

However, for the record, on Thursday he ate from the bowl marked “Portugal” first.

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