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Femen Stages Topless Protest Against FGM Outside Parliament During Tour De France (PICTURES)

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Members of the protest group Femen have staged a topless protest against female genital mutilation (FGM) outside the Palace of Westminster during the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race, which started in Cambridge and finished in London on Monday. Police officers tackled several of the demonstrators, who stripped down before trying to vault over a fence, covering them with their high-visibility jackets.

The group, which was started in Ukraine before moving to Paris, has become known for it particular method of protest, having demonstrated on a raft of issue from prostitution to the wearing of the hijab. The UK chapter, which was announced late last year, said that it would focus on the issue of FGM, which Femen founder-member Alexandra Shevchenko told the Guardian, "no one is talking about in England". She added: "People assume it is too violent and extreme to exist here, that it only happens in Africa and the Middle East, but the UK has some of the highest levels in the west."

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On the road, 26-year-old German Marcel Kittel, one of the best sprinters in the world, won the third stage of the race in a bunch finish at Buckingham Palace. Earlier, rider Geraint Thomas complained of members of the crowd standing in the road with their backs to the speeding peloton in order to take selfies. "It's the new pain in the arse," said Thomas.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An activist from FEMEN group shouts slogans against female genital mutilation during a protest opposite the Houses of Parliament in central London, as the Tour de France pack was expected to pass during the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race, Monday, July 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A British police officer arrests an activist from FEMEN group as she shouts slogans against female genital mutilation during a protest opposite the Houses of Parliament in central London, as the Tour de France pack was expected to pass during the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 155 kilometers (96.3 miles) which started in Cambridge and finishes in London, England, Monday, July 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    British police officers arrest activists from FEMEN group as they shouts slogans against female genital mutilation during a protest opposite the Houses of Parliament in central London, as the Tour de France pack was expected to pass during the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 155 kilometers (96.3 miles) which started in Cambridge and finishes in London, Monday, July 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    British police officers arrest activists from FEMEN group as they shouts slogans against female genital mutilation during a protest opposite the Houses of Parliament in central London, as the Tour de France pack was expected to pass during the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 155 kilometers (96.3 miles) which started in Cambridge and finishes in London, Monday, July 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An activist from FEMEN group shouts slogans against female genital mutilation during a protest opposite the Houses of Parliament in central London, as the Tour de France pack was expected to pass during the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 155 kilometers (96.3 miles) which started in Cambridge and finishes in London, Monday, July 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    British police officer arrest activists from FEMEN group as they shout slogans against female genital mutilation during a protest opposite the Houses of Parliament in central London, as the Tour de France pack was expected to pass during the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 155 kilometers (96.3 miles) which started in Cambridge and finishes in London, Monday, July 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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