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'Criminal' feminist forced to strip for parliament

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'Criminal' feminist forced to strip for parliament
Esquembre’s account of events has sent a shiver down the spine of many Spanish feminists who now fear fighting for their cause has become a crime in Spain. Photo: Facebook/Dani Pozo/AFP
14:14 CEST+02:00
A university lecturer and renowned feminist is suing the Spanish Parliament's Speaker of the House after security staff forced her to strip down to her underwear because she had the wrong surname.

Half naked female bodies have become a somewhat familiar sight in the Spanish Parliament in recent weeks.

First, there were the feminist activists who bared their breasts in front of a crowd of speechless politicians, some of whom later condemned the act as a “threat to public order”.

And now it appears to be the Parliament’s personnel who want to promote the female form by enforcing full body searches and strips on “suspicious” women but not on men.

Mar Esquembre’s account of events has sent a shiver down the spine of many Spanish feminists who now fear fighting for their cause has become a crime in Spain.

A lecturer in Constitutional Law at Alicante University, Esquembre was invited to attend a hearing at Spain's Parliament in Madrid by the country’s Socialist Party.

“They had my second surname written down wrongly,” she wrote in her blog when recalling her ordeal.

“My friend and I tried to explain why but the security guards were already putting the rubber gloves on.”

Esquembre describes how she was taken to a separate room and ordered to strip down to her underwear if she wanted to sit at the public viewing gallery.

“I decided to go ahead with it, and even though I didn’t show it, I felt profoundly humiliated.”

Esquembre is convinced FEMEN’s topless protest in parliament led her to be investigated because of her stance on feminist affairs.

“Once the officers had finished frisking me, one of them escorted me during the whole hearing” she described.

“Women who peacefully defend their rights are apparently dangerous.

“I can’t imagine (Madrid mayor) Ana Botella having her moral integrity and fundamental rights trampled on as I have.

“As the Constitution still exists, I’m going to sue the person responsible: Speaker of the House (Jesus Posada).

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