Femen hit out against Russian intervention in Ukraine

Video surfaces of the topless protesters being violently arrested by security forces in Crimea

Two French Femen activists have been beaten up and arrested in Crimea after staging a topless demonstration against Russian intervention in front of the Simferopol regional parliament. Security forces pepper sprayed one protester within seconds, dragging her into a police van by the hair.

Another Femen activist was chased down and apprehended as onlookers hurled verbal abuse, shouting "western whore" and "junkie". In the above video, uploaded to YouTube by Femen, you can see the protester being carried by the arms and legs into the van as she screams "stop Putin's war".

The protest comes amidst increasing political tension in Crimea. MPs in the Ukranian region have voted to join Russia and a referendum on the political status of the area will be held on 16 March. A statement on the Femen website blames "pro-Russian activists" for savagely beating and arresting the two women.