Friday

9th Dec 2022

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!”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

Josephine Markmann's protest at the ECB press conference

Opinion

A plea to the EU from inside Tehran's Evin jail

As a result of my peaceful civil activism, I have been arrested 13 times, undergone five trials, and been sentenced to 34 years of imprisonment and 154 lashes in total. I am currently in Evrin prison, without the slightest regret.

Illegal pushbacks happening daily in Croatia, says NGO

More than 1,600 testimonies of alleged illegal pushbacks of migrants and refugees throughout the EU has been published, collated by the Border Violence Monitoring Network and the Left party — adding to the mounting evidence of abuse.

Opinion

A plea to the EU from inside Tehran's Evin jail

As a result of my peaceful civil activism, I have been arrested 13 times, undergone five trials, and been sentenced to 34 years of imprisonment and 154 lashes in total. I am currently in Evrin prison, without the slightest regret.

Illegal pushbacks happening daily in Croatia, says NGO

More than 1,600 testimonies of alleged illegal pushbacks of migrants and refugees throughout the EU has been published, collated by the Border Violence Monitoring Network and the Left party — adding to the mounting evidence of abuse.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. A plea to the EU from inside Tehran's Evin jail
  2. EU lets Croatia into Schengen, keeps Bulgaria and Romania out
  3. Energy crisis costs thousands of EU jobs, but industrial output stable
  4. Illegal pushbacks happening daily in Croatia, says NGO
  5. No, Bosnia and Herzegovina is not ready for the EU
  6. EU takes legal action against China over Lithuania
  7. EU Commission shoring up children's rights of same-sex parents
  8. The military-industrial complex cashing-in on the Ukraine war

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us