Feminists cheer pope's farewell in Paris protest

Women from the Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN staged their protest at Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral.

PARIS — Topless female activists pounded a huge church bell in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to "celebrate" the pope's resignation.

The nine women from the Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN had their chests and backs emblazoned with the words "Pope No More." They didn't explain their actions except to say they are "provocateurs" celebrating Pope Benedict XVI's decision to step down later this month.

At one point some of the women rang an enormous bell on display in the hall of the landmark cathedral, part of a set of new bronze bells cast for Notre Dame's 850th anniversary this year. Cathedral staff turned off the church lights and pulled the women away.

The women say they're also protesting in support of gay marriage. France's lower house of parliament approved a bill Tuesday to legalize such unions.

Topless protest: Activists from feminist group FEMEN are confronted by security guards as they stand by one of the bells in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Tuesday. IMAGEAP Photo: Michel Euler

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