HANOVER, Germany, April 8 Russia urged Germany
to punish a group of women who staged a bare-breasted protest
against President Vladimir Putin on Monday during a visit to a
trade fair in Hanover with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Three members of the women's rights group Femen, which has
staged protests against Russia's detention of the feminist punk
band Pussy Riot around Europe, disrupted a visit by Putin and
Merkel to an industry fair focusing on Russian business.
They stripped off to the waist and shouted slogans calling
the Russian leader a "dictator" before being covered up and
bundled away by security men.
"This is ordinary hooliganism and unfortunately it happens
all over the world, in any city. One needs to punish (them),"
said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
The Russian leader's arrival at the trade fair on Sunday
also drew protesters, some of whom were dressed in striped
prison uniforms. "Stop political terror," read one banner.
Merkel told Putin in a speech at the fair on Sunday that
Russia needed "an active civil society" including freedom for
non-governmental organisations, after a wave of controversial
state inspections of foreign-funded NGOs in Russia.
The chancellor had promised to raise what she called
"controversial subjects" with Putin, after coming under pressure
to voice Berlin's unease over the crackdown on NGOs, Moscow's
support of the Syrian government and its criticism of the
German-orchestrated financial bailout of Cyprus.