February 7, 2010 / 6:10 PM / in 8 years

Topless women stage sub-zero Ukraine poll protest

A woman reads a ballot in a voting booth during the presidential election at a polling station in Dnipropetrovsk February 7, 2010. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

KIEV (Reuters) - It must have been the soaring political temperature in Ukraine that kept four women safe from the sub-zero weather after they stripped to the waist to protest during a presidential election on Sunday.

Strategically placed green sticky-tape did little to save the blushes of election officials when the fur coats came off and the women posed for photographers who had turned up to see opposition candidate Viktor Yanukovich cast his vote.

“Don’t sell your votes!” shouted the women, who said they represented a group called “Femen”. They held up banners that read: “Stop raping the country”.

The women said they were protesting against the state of Ukrainian democracy after five years of crippling political infighting.

The protest began inside a polling station but the women were bundled out into the cold and the waiting arms of police officers who arrested them. “You see what they did to us? What kind of democracy are we talking about?” one of the protestors told reporters.

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