Two topless activists of the protest group FEMEN disturbed a German late-night show on Wednesday to raise awareness of the plight of guest laborers in Qatar. The Gulf state and host of the 2022 World Cup has been repeatedly criticized for the mistreatment of foreign workers in the country.
EuroNews reports that the two young activists ran on stage during a debate about soccer hosted by Markus Lanz. Footage of the event shows that the women managed to reach the podium with blood-dripping soccer balls painted across their breasts. They yelled: "Boycott FIFA Mafia," referring to the international soccer federation, and one of the women had "Blut & Spiele," or "Blood and Games," written on her belly.
Several men quickly moved to remove the women from the stage. However, Lanz, the show's host, asked one of the male protesters accompanying the topless activists why the group had resorted to protest. The young man said workers in Qatar "are treated like slaves," according to a HuffPost translation from German.
Human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly condemned Qatar's treatment of foreign workers, arguing that foreign laborers in the country are being exploited and abused.
In a November report, Amnesty International said Qatar has employed more than 1.38 million foreign nationals in a massive building spree that is aimed at turning Doha into a global hub by the time the country will host the 2022 World Cup. The organization says its research revealed "widespread exploitation" of many of those foreign laborers at the hands of their employers. Amnesty International found evidence that foreign workers are being forced to fill different positions than they were initially recruited for, and often receive lower salaries than promised. Pay is often withheld for months, workers are forced to complete excessive hours, employers leave workers without documents and the accommodation provided by hosts is often horrifying.
Human Rights Watch notes that while the international soccer federation FIFA discussed laborers' rights with the Qatari authorities and the local organizing committee publicly said it would establish strict labor standards, no such standards have been put in place.
In a message on its Facebook page, FEMEN says it condemns the "sports-mafia" and demands women's rights and human rights "also aside the grass fields."
The group adds:
Following the tradition of oppressive regimes going on for centuries, big, influential and rich dicatorships pay hommage to their leaders with holding famous sports events- to distract their opponents and victims, to practice money-laundering and to demonstrate pure power. The next three World Cups will be hosted by Brazil in 2014, Russia in 2018, and Qatar in 2022.
The public of the new hosts already suffer illegitimate eviction from their homes, have to face everyday-dicatorship, mafia, discrimination, homophobia, are forced in large numbers into sex-industry, are forced to work under degrading worker's conditions and slavery to erect the gigantic monuments in which the inglorious games will be held.
WARNING: The video below contains some nudity.