The women who staged the protest on May 1st, 2014, are facing charges of “crimes against religious sentiment” for parading “a plastic vagina a couple of metres high in the style of the Virgin Mary,” according to court papers.
In the May Day protest, organisers appealed for support for the protest on social media and took to the streets wearing hoods as they carried the vagina on a plinth, reminiscent of the penitents that solemnly parade the religious statues through the streets at Easter.
The group called themselves the “Hermandad del Sagrado Coño Insumiso', or the 'Brotherhood of the Blessed Rebellious Vagina'.
The protest was designed to highlight issues of discrimination against women in the workplace as part of the national Workers’ Day march in Seville by the Spanish union the General Workers' Confederation (CGT).
The case will be heard by a Seville magistrate after a previous ruling in favour of the protestors was overturned after an appeal from the Association of Christian Lawyers.
In the original hearing a judge ruled that the trio who belong to the Aquelarre Feminists group had legitimately used freedom of expression.
But that ruling has been overturned on appeal after a judge said there was evidence the group had deliberately set out to insult the “religious sentiments of Catholics” by making “a mockery of the Easter parades” using “rude and offensive slogans”, said magistrate Luis Gonzaga de Oro-Pulido.
As such their behaviour constitutes a “religious hate crime”, and if found guilty the women face a fine and a prison sentence of up to 18 month, although in Spain a jail sentence of up to two years for a first offender is likely to be suspended.