Topless women fete pope's resignation in Paris cathedral

PARIS (AFP) - Eight feminists flashed their breasts in the heart of Paris's Notre Dame cathedral on Tuesday to celebrate Pope Benedict XVI's shock resignation announcement.

The members of the Femen movement entered the Gothic cathedral dressed in long coats which they whipped off inside while ringing three bells near the altar.

"Pope no more!" they cried. "No more homophobe" and "Bye bye Benedict!" Scandalised visitors voiced their disapproval.

"This is a sacred place, you can't strip here," said a Frenchwoman.

The Femen women's power group has been making headlines since 2010 for topless feminist, pro-democracy and anti-corruption protests in Russia, Ukraine and London.

The protestors were dragged out of the cathedral by security but remained outside for some time shouting "In gay we trust" and "Get out homophobe".

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls and Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe condemned the action.

Calling it a "useless provocation", Mr Valls expressed his "support to French Catholics who could have been offended by this rude gesture." Mr Delanoe expressed his "sadness" over what happened.

"I reprove an action which caricatures the fine struggle for female-male equality and needlessly shocks many believers," Mr Delanoe said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.