12 Apr, 2023 @ 19:30
1 min read

Police officer in Spain faces sexual abuse charge for grabbing breasts of Femen protestor

Franco protestor capyured
FASCISM: Femen protestor captured by police at Franco remembrance rally

AN OFFICER from Spain’s National Police force has been called to appear in court to face accusations of sexual abuse after he grabbed the breasts of a topless protestor at a demonstration in Madrid last November. 

The incident took place on November 20 in the Plaza de Oriente in the Spanish capital, during an event that had been organised to commemorate the day of the death of former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in 1975

Three activists from the Femen group were present in the square, and at around 12.40pm began a topless protest of the type that the collective is known for around the world. 

The police quickly swooped in on the Femen members to arrest them, which is when one of the officers took hold of the protester in question from behind, and ‘gripped her bosoms with both hands’, according to the lawsuit filed by the organisation and as can be clearly seen in a photo taken by news agency EFE of the moment. 

‘This is the first time in the history of Femen Spain that an activist has filed a lawsuit against a police officer for sexual abuse during an arrest,’ Endika Zulueta, the collective’s lawyer, told Spanish newspaper El Pais. ‘Until that day they had never suffered any sexual abuse during the arrests at the many acts that they have been a part of.’

The EFE photo where the officer is grabbing the protestor by the breasts.

The lawsuit also claims that the policeman ‘abused his situation of superiority, taking advantage of his condition of an officer of the law’. 

The three women were released by the police shortly after officers had taken down their personal details.

The lawsuit was filed several days later and was admitted by a Madrid court on January 19, according to El Pais

The judge overseeing the case has called the activist and the EFE photographer who took the aforementioned picture to appear in court today, Wednesday, while the officer will appear tomorrow. 

Bare-chested and with slogans

Femen Spain was founded 10 years ago, and since then has been staging protests related to abortion rights, the rise of the far right, sexual violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. The female protestors are known for appearing bare-chested and with slogans painted on their bodies. 

The collective famously staged a noisy topless protest in Spain’s lower house of parliament, the Congress of Deputies, in 2013, against plans by the then Popular Party government to restrict access to abortions. The three demonstrators present, one Spanish and two French, loudly chanted ‘Abortion is sacred’ from the public gallery until they were forcibly removed.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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