Protester rushes ECB's Draghi at news conference

15th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

A news conference by European Central Bank president Mario Draghi was briefly interrupted Wednesday when a young woman charged at him calling for an "end to the ECB dictatorship".

The woman, wearing a T-shirt with the same slogan but spelled "dick tatorship", jumped onto the podium where Draghi was seated and scattered confetti and sheets of paper at the startled central banker.

She was quickly apprehended and escorted out of the bank's new headquarters before the news conference resumed.

The feminist activist group Femen, known for topless protests, claimed responsibility for the incident, posting a short video on the micro-blogging site Twitter, although a written message dropped by the woman did not mention the group.

In a short statement, the ECB said its staff were "investigating the incident".

"Initial findings suggest that the activist registered as journalist for a news organisation she does not represent," the statement said.

"Like all visitors to the ECB, she went through an identity check, metal detector and X-ray of her bag, before entering the building.

"ECB President Mario Draghi remained unharmed and calmly proceeded with the press conference," it added.

Police told AFP afterwards that the woman was 21 years old and was from the northern city of Hamburg.

She was questioned, "but we'll then release her," a spokesman for the Frankfurt police said.

"There's no reason to detain her as she had accreditation and didn't injure anyone."

The ECB has frequently been the target of protests, but this was the first time a demonstrator has infiltrated the building and disrupted a news conference in such a manner.

Security in and around the ECB's headquarters is traditionally extremely tight.

Last month, dozens of people were injured when violent clashes between anti-capitalist protesters and police left a trail of destruction at the official inauguration of the ECB's new headquarters in the east of Germany's financial capital.

On one of the type-written handouts scattered by the protester, the woman accused the ECB of playing with people's lives like "chips ... in a gambling game".

"Today, I am just a butterfly sending you a sentence," the message said. "But be afraid more are coming. We will take back the power over our own lives."

© 2015 AFP

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