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2nd Mar 2024

Who's the woman that threw confetti on Draghi?

  • Markmann (not pictured) has taken part in several Femen protests, including against Putin in Germany (Photo: Wolf Gang)

European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi received chaste treatment by activist Josephine Markmann on Wednesday (15 April), compared to some of her earlier protests.

The 21-year old German philosophy student interrupted his press conference by jumping on the table and throwing confetti while shouting “end to ECB dictatorship!”.

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Granted, the spelling of the word “dicktatorship” on her T-shirt was a mild expletive, but at least she kept it on this time.

Markmann, who goes by the pseudonym Josephine Witt, has also been involved in a number of highly-publicised protests by Femen, a feminist group, whose members often gatecrash events with slogans written on their bare breasts.

She joined Femen in 2013, a year in which she was involved in protests against a visit by Russian president Vladimir Putin to Hannover, the treatment of a Tunisian women's rights activist, the granting to Qatar of the football world championship, and against the Christian church.

“We're part of a worldwide movement, and want to address global problems in Germany,” Markmann told German weekly Der Spiegel in 2013.

The weekly had been invited to witness Femen members train how to box in Hamburg, where Markmann said the martial art helps her to punch through security.

She had no need for violence at Wednesday’s ECB protest.

“I got in like anybody else - there’s this airport control thing, but I didn’t carry any weapons except for confetti in my bag”, she told Bloomberg.

She had registered as a journalist for Vice Media.

“I registered for access beforehand, and they just checked the name and then I got inside. It was very easy”.

After the protest, she was held for two and half hours by police, she said.

It was not her first time in custody.

In June 2013, after a topless protest in Tunisia to support activist Amina Sboui, she and two fellow Femen members were arrested and sentenced to four months prison.

Tunisia freed the women later the same month, however.

Markmann also received a €1,200 euro fine in 2014 for a protest, in 2013, at a Christmas service in the Cologne cathedral.

Her ECB protest was not done in name of Femen, she said on social media.

“The confetti attack was not a Femen protest - I'm sorry ladies. I consider myself a freelance-activist”, she wrote, accompanied by the hashtag #exfemen, indicating she’s no longer part of the group.

The official Twitter account for Femen didn't leave the protest unmentioned.

“The most powerful man in Europe was attacked by activist Josephine Witt causing chaos at European Central Bank”, it wrote, accompanied by a link to the group's webshop, showing Markmann in a Femen T-shirt, which is for sale.

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