The Pope's appearance in St. Peter's Square was interrupted on Christmas day by a topless protester from the international feminist group Femen.
Femen confirms they sent a Ukrainian woman named Alisa Vinogradova, who they described as a "sextremist," to the Vatican for the holiday. With thousands of people crowded into the square, Vinogradova sprinted up the nativity scene and attempted to steal the baby Jesus doll. She was stopped and apprehended by Vatican police.
Femen gave a statement endorsing Vinogradova's actions, claiming she represented their protest of "the Vatican's infringement of the rights of women to their own bodies." In particular, Femen dislikes the Holy See's "promotion of the ban on abortion" and "'sacred condemnation'" of contraception.
This isn't the first time Femen has made a grab for the Vatican's nativity figures. In 2014, a protester tried the same stunt, but they were thwarted by authorities in the same way. The first protester carried the same slogan as Vinogradova -- "Woman is God." It's a part of a phrase used in many Femen demonstrations.
"A child is not from a god, but from a woman! For a woman is God!"
The Vatican and the Catholic Church are a frequent target for the feminist organization. They reject the church's "traditional" views on the place of women in society, as well as their conservative policies on sex and child-rearing.
On their official website, Femen identifies itself as an atheistic organization, and lays out their philosophy that topless women in public spaces are a disruptive form of protest that will ultimately topple the global patriarchy.