tv Caught on Camera MSNBC November 8, 2015 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ revolutionary. rebellious. radical. fighting for freedom. demanding action. >> we're dying! the city is dying! and making their voices heard. we're using our sex as weapon. indelible images of ordinary people seizing the moment. >> it was an amazing act of protest by one single individual and refusing to back down.
♪ ♪ >> "caught on camera" dee phiance. citizens rise up. >> as america's heartland becomes the staging ground for a contentious political struggle. >> we're not just for money. it's for rights. >> government should not be shut down because one bill is too controversial. madison, wisconsin, newly elected governor scott walker projected a budget shortfall introducing sweeping legislation called the budget repair bill. >> just like nearly every state across the country, we are broke. walker's bill proposes broad spending cut, but also includes something many people don't expect. the elimination of collective bargaining rights for public employee unions.
>> walker's man was to make it much harder for private sector unions to bargain for state county or local government or school districts. he was saying we are going to take away your right to exist. collective bargaining is not a right in the private sector. collective bargaining is an expensive entitlement. >> state democrats dispute that it affects the state's budget situation and that wisconsin is broke. they also disagree with some of the bill's other provisions which include privatizing state power plants and overhauling medicare. lena taylor is a state senator that that opposes the bill. >> laws that have been in place 50, 70 years. >> many interpret walker's proposals as a challenge to his political opponents. john nichols covers the story for the progressive magazine "the nation". >> it's no secret that in northern industrial states, labor unions, particularly
unions are the backbone of the democratic party. walker went right at that base. >> by monday, february 14th, graduate students at the university of wisconsin madison who belonged to a union of teaching assistants organized a march to the nearby state capitol to protest the bill. >> these graduate students mostly started going into the capitol and it was a gentle protest and tv cameras were there and i think it had a very powerful protest. >> tuesday there were more protests. >> by the next day there were many, many people who said i think i'll get in on that. >> outraged citizens at the capitol spread quickly around facebook. >> this affects lives. this affects the economy. this affects job and this affects everything. >> on wednesday a crowd of more than 30,000 people shows up including teachers from all over the state and thousands of studenteds from the university.
some of whom had never been near a union and didn't know much about what a union was, but they understood there was a struggle and they came to join it. >> reporter: matt is a graduate of the university of wisconsin and works there in the department of communications. as a son of two state employees and a state employee myself i was offended by the notion that i was the reason why we were in debt. i went down to the capitol because i knew there was this rally. >> kill that bill! kill that bill! >> matt brings along his canon 5d camera. >> the first day i was there i covered what was going on with my camera because a lot of people had been asking what's happening in wisconsin? the atmosphere of the capitol was something i never felt before. there was students, there was teachers, nurses. you know, young children and old people. >> kill the bill! >> that first day i kind of, i
fell in love with the way that i felt. to be surrounded by people who cared about something so much. and so i just kept coming back after that. >> for the next few days, as the crowds swell and the chants get louder, matt shoots everything he can of the protest and the protesters. >> there was so much of this emotion happening all around me. people were just so incredibly passionate about what they were there for. >> the demonstrators begin occupying the capitol 24 hours a day. >> the sight that i've never seen was people sleeping all around the floor in the capitol. they had decided that they were not leaving. >> by the end of the week, the wisconsin protests are a national story. >> good evening. from the mideast to the american midwest tonight, people are rising up. the state capitol has been taken over by the people. unions say the governor is out to bust them.
>> what's going on right now in the american midwest is about republicans versus democrats. it is about politics. >> but even with the public outcry, scott walker and his republican colleagues in the state legislature hold their ground. >> this is a major deficit that we're trying to solve. we're trying to get the state back on track fiscally. >> and with republicans solidly in the majority, passage of the bill is virtually assured. senate democrats looking for a way to stop the vote do something drastic. they determine that if 14 of them are not physically in the state, the republicans will not have a quorum to vote on the bill, so 14 senators including lena taylor secretly leave wisconsin. >> there really wasn't some huge strategic context, but what are our options? our only option was to deny quorum. >> they headed down to the illinois border. people were just shocked. >> republicans are outraged.
but democrats defend the move. >> welcome back to "the ed show." thanks for watching tonight. they're our last hope for the middle class. >> when the legislators left, that changed almost everything. it's almost, like, wow, sort of an outlaw them. people have crossed borders. they're hiding out. >> yet, even with the wisconsin 14 outside the state, the governor and republicans in the legislature find ways to press on. >> if we do not get these changes and the senate democrats don't come back, we're going to be forced to make up the savings in layoffs and that, to me, is just unacceptable. >> the republicans break the budget bill into different parts, and at 1:00 in the morning on february 25th, despite not having a quorum, they invoke a rarely used parliamentary rule to call a vote. the bill passes. >> in the end, they still did all the things they wanted to do. >> that day i think the governor felt like he had prevailed.
the following saturday, 180,000 people came to the square in madison. the largest of all the protests. and i think at that point, you saw that there are many different definitions of victory. >> scott walker kept saying, there's this silent majority who's not coming to the capitol every day to speak. and so every time that they said something like this, i think there was this act of defiance to show, well, actually, there's a lot of us. >> matt edits his footage into a serious of music-driven short videos which go viral on the internet and are seen by millions of people across the country. >> i wanted to tell the story of what was happening there, and i wanted people to see it. >> following the protests, wisconsinites gather more than half a million signatures to recall their governor, forcing a special election in june 2010. but scott walker survives the recall election, winning by eight points. >> i believe that for the sake of our children and our grandchildren, now is the time for us to come together.
>> and yet more than two years after it is signed, the governor's bill remains mired in legal challenges brought by unions. >> some things are worth fighting for. even if you don't win. you have to be willing to push back and this was one of those times that i felt like we had to push back. >> i think what happened in wisconsin in february and march of 2011 was a renewal of a very american understanding of protest. that's what the power of wisconsin is. it is an understanding that it's not the powerful, it's not the elites, it is not those who have that made the american experiment. it is the dissenter. >> the takeaway for the people, i would say, is don't be afraid to stand up. be defiant. let your voice be heard. because if you don't, you'll never be able to make change. coming up, an astonishing act of personal bravery. the image that inspires millions around the world.
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>> after a government savagely attacks its own citizens -- >> they were using battlefield weapons. >> -- a lone man staring down tyranny becomes one of most iconic images of the 20th century. spring, 1989. the fall of communism in eastern europe inspires pro democracy demonstrations in a place few ever thought possible. china. george lewis reports the story from beijing for nbc news. >> well, it all kicked off on april 15th of 1989 with the death of hu yaobang who was was very popular with the young people in china. they felt under his leadership they might have more freedom and that sparked an initial round of demonstrations and the crowds kept growing, growing. >> in april/may of 1989, the
whole country erupted in these protests, and they were stunning. >> jan wong lived in china in the 1970s as a student and returned as a reporter for the "toronto globe and mail" in the late '80s. >> there was the beginning of opening dissent. i was quite surprised because i'd never seen spontaneous political protests in china. >> in beijing, a million chinese were on the streets. people who lived all their lives taking orders from the government and the communist party. now openly defying authority. >> tiananmen square became the focal point of the protests. the square is right in front of the great hall of the people, where the seat of chinese government is. it was mind-boggling. i was in the middle of that march. i'm 6'2". i weigh 200 pounds. i was literally swept off my feet by those demonstrators. >> photojournalist jeff widner covered it for the "associated press." >> there was this amazing, uplifting feeling in the air. >> a few weeks later in mid-may, the situation intensified when
soviet premier mikhail gorbachev heads to china for the first sino-soviet summit in years. >> it remains a world turned upside down tonight. >> he was an advocate in his home country. his visit gave them an opportunity to go to the streets and express themselves in a way that they had not before. >> they knew that they had the world watching them. >> and this also enraged the chinese authorities who are used to stage managing every photo op. and suddenly they had no control. >> after gorbachev leaves and the protests continue, chinese authorities change their tactics. >> the chinese communist party cracked down, and they declared martial law. >> despite repeated warnings from the government, the protesters refused to leave
tiananmen square. everyone expects the government to act, but few predict what actually happens next. >> on the night of june 3rd, the square was filled with people milling around. we started getting rumors the army was starting to shoot its way into the center of downtown beijing. >> all of sudden we hear this noise. boom, boom, boom, boom. >> under orders from the government to take back the square, soldiers from the people's liberation army advance into the city center from three directions. >> the violence began outside of tiananmen square. as the army units came into beijing, they were met with resistance. one point, one of the carriers was set on fire and some of the chinese soldiers inside it were burned to death. >> they were using battlefield weapons. these were armor-piercing bullets. and the crowd was, of course, densely packed. so there were lots and lots of
casualties. >> jan wong along with some other journalists retreated to a room at the beijing hotel which overlooks the square. >> the rest of the night, we just watched this carnage unfold. >> this is about the worst you can do to your own citizens, and they're doing it. that armored personnel group, as it worked its way down the main street toward tiananmen square, was firing at demonstrators. >> it was a bloodbath. i mean, you have one side with military-grade weapons, and then you have people in their summer dresses with their children. it's a massacre. >> the next day, "ap" still photographer, jeff widner convinces a man he just met named kirk to let him camp out in his room at the beijing hotel. jeff shoots photos until he runs out of film, but kirk locates one roll and gives it to jeff. >> i had one roll of film and had to make it last. >> by the morning of june 5th, the siege of tiananmen square is nearly over, and most of the protesters have fled.
but there is one act of defiance yet to come. one that will live on forever. >> so i get wakened up by this sound of tanks coming down the street. as i'm looking through the camera, i notice it's really far away. it's a nice composition. it's nice compression and some guy walks out. >> from a different floor of the hotel, jan wong is watching the same row of tanks. >> i saw this lone man stepping in front of them. i couldn't believe it. i immediately started crying because i just knew i was going to witness him getting smashed, like hamburger. i see the tank try to go around him. i see him jump to the one side to stop it. i see the tank turn, twist, and try to go around him, and i see him stop it, too. i'm going, this is unbelievable. >> he's standing there and i said, okay, i know what they're going to do. they're just going to shoot him. i'm just waiting for the incident. >> jeff snaps the shutter on his nikon. >> finally he crawls up on the
top. >> he tries to get up to the turret so he can talk to them. >> as the tank begins to move, the man jumps in front once again and reestablishes the standoff. eventually, a few bystanders rush over and push the man out of the way. >> my thought is, how do i tell the world what i've just seen? not knowing that in the rest of the hotel, there was photographers, tv cameras. >> within hours, chinese police raid the hotel, looking for photographers and videographers who may have captured the event. but jeff has given his film to kirk who smuggles it out in his underwear and gets it to the u.s. embassy. the next day, jeff's photograph appears on the cover of dozens of newspapers around the globe, and the video footage captured by two different news crews at the hotel captivates the world.
the question, burning in everyone's mind, who is the man in front of the tank? >> we don't know what the tank man was. we don't know his name. we don't know his age. what we do know is he was probably in his 20s. he was probably an ordinary worker. he was lucky because the cameras only captured the back of his head. they didn't get his face. >> after the crackdown, the protests end, and the pro-democracy movement in china peters out. chinese authorities arrest many of the rebellion's leaders, sentencing most to jail and others to death. exact figures remain unknown, but several hundred citizens are believed to have died, and hundreds, possibly thousands, more wounded. >> it's just so tragic to see china ease young people, their best and their brightest, trying to make a change and then being slaughtered by the army. the way it ended was just horrible. >> the mystery of what happened
to the tank man persists. some believe he was captured or executed. others think he may have escaped the country. still others imagine he may yet be in china. in hiding. >> i don't believe he's ever been arrested or found. i don't believe the chinese government knows who he is. >> he's the unknown soldier. he's representing all of us. >> images of the tank man are never published in china and are virtually unknown by the chinese public. >> that's the one image they don't want anyone to see. you see it and it does say it all, doesn't it? >> it was an amazing act of protest by one single individual. he symbolized that whole revolution that was happening in tiananmen square. >> i think the tank man has such a resonance, not just for china, but for the world. because really that's the image we have of human beings standing up against tyranny. >> he acted with exceptional courage. out of the strength of his convictions.
and he gave us all a lesson, i think, in how you can, one person, have an enormous impact against a state that's trying to oppress its people. >> and in a sense, it is the beginning of the end of all of those totalitarian dictatorships. there's almost none left. i think that was the moment in history when mankind said, that's enough, we're done. it's over. coming up, activists united in a life-or-death struggle. when "caught on camera: defiance" continues. fight it! with jublia. jublia is a prescription medicine used to treat toenail fungus. use jublia as instructed by your doctor. are you getting this?! most common side effects include ingrown toenail, application site redness, itching, swelling, burning or stinging, blisters, and pain. oh, epic moves, big j! fight it!
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i'm not about to swim in the slow lane. stay strong. stay active with boost®. it's time to march on city hall! >> activists in new york city bringing attention to a crisis that has grown into an epidemic. >> we're dying. the city is dying. >> march 28th, 1989. a protest at city hall draws nearly 3,000 members of new york
city's gay and lesbian community and its supporters. the demonstrators are from a defiant political action group called actup, the aids coalition to unleash power. actup's co-founder, eric sawyer, was diagnosed with hiv in 1984. >> one thing we realized writing letters or articles to the editor about the health crises wasn't getting the public's attention and decided we really had to disrupt people in their daily lives the way aids was disrupting our daily lives. >> the crisis began in 1981 when a mysterious disease started spreading among gay men and intravenous drug users. >> they didn't know what was causing these cancers that caused big purple callous-like lesions all over the bodies of people and invaded the lungs and killed people. >> by the mid 1980s, tens of
thousands of cases of hiv, the virus that causes aids, are reported across the u.s. the federal government's response is show. john winkelman was a college activist during that time. >> reagan didn't push for funding. nothing was happening. >> unfortunately, hiv was impacting first gay men and then drug users. everybody thinks that queers and junkies are expendable. >> let me honest with ourselves. when it comes to preventing aids, don't medicine and morality teach the same lessons? >> no new york, the city's large gay community is especially hard hit. >> a lot of fear and anger. people died very quick, horrible, horrible deaths. >> you had a government that wasn't telling you the answers to any of the questions that any of us had. what was this disease? how was it spread? >> in addition, the stigma and prejudice attached to the disease creates terrible consequences for those infected. >> people were being fire from their job, evicted from their apartment, denied health insurance. everything. city government was also absent.
ed cotch's administration was not talking about aids publicly. >> actup is born in 1987, emerging from the powerlessness that many affected by the disease are feeling. >> actup's original formula was also its formula. anger into action. our grief, after a while, became anger. we took that anger and frustration and we focused it. >> a key part of actup's strategy is to use the media to spread its message. >> actup was very, very savvy. we had people like ann northrop who used to be diane sawyer's producer at cbs. we had bob ravsky who did pr for corporate america. from day one they told us how to talk to the media and how to get our message out. >> if the press didn't get a film camera there or didn't get a print photographer there, we started taking our own pictures and doing our own video then saying we've got great footage of that demo, do you want it? >> the situation worsens with each passing year.
aids deaths skyrocket. by 1991, the number of people infected with hiv reaches 1 million. and there's still no effective drug treatment in sight. >> almost in step with the way the epidemic was exploding, the turnout to act up exploded. first it was a few dozen people planning, and then a thousand people or more showing up at a meeting. >> in january, 1991, around the 10-year anniversary of the epidemic, actup mounts a major coordinated protest, hoping to attract maximum media coverage. they call it day of desperation. >> we've gotten some progress in some things, but we still thought the media was ignoring it. we were just feeling desperate. >> day of desperation actually begins the night before with a daring stunt that will be seen by millions. as the media focus on the beginning of the gulf war, actup, using fake i.d. badges, tries to sneak into a number of
news organizations. planning to disrupt their live broadcasts. they succeed at cbs. >> good evening. we're going to take a break for a commercial just now. >> we knew that cameras were going to cut off as soon as they could. so we didn't know whether we were going to get one word out, two words out, or a whole sentence. so we came up with "fight aids, not arabs, act up, act back, fight aids." >> the next day, actup's planned demonstrations wreak havoc on the city. the plan for the end of the day is a giant show of force. >> the goal was to see if we could make all three news programs -- >> we're actup and we want people to know that aids is everybody's issue. >> so we decided let's try to shut grand central down. >> people are having a very
difficult time as they try to make their way home. reporting live from grand central terminal -- >> tony arena is a former videographer for actup. >> what i remember the most was the noise. i mean, we were so loud. [ cheering ] >> so it's hundreds and hundreds if not a thousand people inside grand central. it was an incredible thing to see. >> seeing the banners hanging over the train schedule and the banners floating on the ceiling gave me a sense of pride, you know, like, we really did it. >> day of desperation attracts attention to the cause, but the urgency of actup's mission continues to grow. coming up, as the death toll climbs, private grief makes a public impact.
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i'm richard lui with your hour's top stories. university of missouri's tom wolf says there will be changes to address racially charged incidents on campus. a swastika was drawn with human waste on a dorm wall. black members of a football team are boycotting activities until wolf resigns or is fired. one student is on a hunger strike. there was a massive memorial service for the 224 victims of the plane crash in egypt. they're still trying to determine if a bomb down the airbus. now back to "caught on camera." as the aids crisis enters its second decade, members of new york's confrontational
advocacy group, actup, are looking for new ways to get the message across. >> as we got into the '90s, the number of our friends within actup dying was just escalating and we were really getting tired of metaphors. and a lot of people were using rhetoric, when i die, throw my body over the white house fence. >> in 1992, with the presidential election looming, actup's activists seized the opportunity to put aids research on the national agenda. >> actup began a year-long campaign called campaign '92: aids, vote if your life depended on it. >> on october 11th, three weeks before the election, thousands of actup members come to washington to perform a solemn protest. >> no more -- >> they coincided with the aids memorial quilt being unfurled on the washington mall in front of all the museums. >> as thousands view the quilt, a giant memorial to those who
have died, actup believes that a stronger message needs to be delivered. ♪ ♪ >> we wanted to bring the remains of our loved ones who had died of aids to the white house. we decided that we would get drums and march in a funeral procession then try to urge people to leave the quilt and join us. >> tony arena is there with his videocamera. >> i just made sure that when they started to march, i started to march. >> 150,000 dead! >> and whatever they were doing, i was going to keep that camera on them. my job was to get this on tape. >> hi, we're here today because we're tired of this administration, and we're going to take the ashes of some of our friends and drop them on the steps of the white house. >> reagan and bush did nothing at all.
>> all of us who were ashes bearers, were carrying the ashes of loved ones, of people we knew well. we had grandmothers show up with the ashes from her grandson from the midwest. you know, who read in the paper, you know, that this action was going to happen, and, you know, got on a bus to bring her grandson's ashes there. >> we just made a huge wedge. we kind of locked or arms together so it would be hard to pull us apart. we just kind of, like, moved in through the police so we created this funnel on both sides to allow people who had ashes to get through. [ whistles ] ♪ ♪ >> i never saw cremated ashes before, but i was looking at the lawn. it was kind of a grayish-green,
and bone fragments. you're looking at bone fragments of people. people you knew. >> we are gathered here today to pay our last respects to the bush administration. >> i think the ashes action was kind of drawing a line in the sand and saying, we aren't going to take it anymore. you know, we are bringing our dead to your door, and you had better start doing something to stop the dying, or, you know, you literally are going to be walking on bodies. >> shame, shame, shame, shame. >> it was the most emotionally charged thing i've ever participated in. we never had a problem with showing our anger, but below that really thin layer of anger was this enormous ocean of grief. this is what's left of our lives. this is what's left of our community. these ashes are the person i love the most. this is what's left. >> actup continues to perform acts of civil disobedience for
the next few years, but in the mid 1990s, the group splits apart due to internal disagreements. in the end, the coalition is considered groundbreaking for the attention it brings to aids. >> we got the drug companies and federal government to develop treatments that were extending lives and stopping the immediate carnage. >> by 1996, a drug cocktail is introduced that brings about dramatic improvements for many of the afflicted. >> those of us who had under 100 "t" cells and were really sick, our health started to rebound. >> eric sawyer is one of the longest terms survivors of hiv. he now works for the united nations on international aids issues. >> i think actup was defiant because it empowered people to speak truth to power. it empowered people how were viewed as pariahs, lepers, because of their hiv virus to stand up and say, i'm not a leper. i have a virus.
i deserve to live just as much as you do. >> actup's success at not only defying authority, but creating revolutionary results, was the fact that we didn't simply get angry and shout in the streets. >> we did change the way the media talked about aids. we demanded the right to be able to live. and we fought like hell for action to happen to save our lives. coming up, a journalist puts his life in jeopardy to report from one of the most dangerous places on earth. when "caught on camera: defiance" continues. and enjoyable approach... compared to the alternatives. push! i am pushing! sfx: pants ripping how you doing eddie? almost there. small steps. at axa, we'll help you take the next steps, with more confidence.
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an uprising in syria. caught on camera by a fearless journalist. >> it's quite dangerous because it's a war zone. >> in march, 2011, as part of the changes sweeping through the arab world, citizens in syria begin peaceful demonstrations against president bashar al assad. the dictator strikes back with force, killing thousands of his own people, and sparking a full-fledged civil war. [ shots fired ] video of the conflict is mainly uploaded to the internet because the regime bans all foreign journalists from the country in order to better control the story. >> allah akbar! >> this really speaks to the power of images to connect us to what's happening on the ground. that's why the assad regime has
been so determined to keep out media from syria and why it has been attacking journalists. >> in the first two years of the conflict, at least 34 journalists are killed in syria. dozens more are arrested, tortured or kidnapped including nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel who in december, 2012, is taken hostage with his crew. five days later, they escape to safety. engel and his colleagues are part of a small group of courageous journalists risking their lives to report from syria. some of the most extraordinary images are being captured by manny, an independent french photographer and filmmaker. manny uses a fake name in order to protect his identity. >> before becoming a journalist, i used to teach kids in middle schools in paris. >> as a young man, manny also teaches in syria where he travels to study arabic. >> i started going to syria quite early in my life.
>> when he decides to switch careers and become a journalist, the syrian conflict beckons. >> when these movements happened in the arab world, i thought, okay, this is something that is really important that is happening. i lived there and i know those people. >> using his teaching credentials as cover, manny sneaks into the country. >> i had to go through the border illegally. the biggest danger you're facing is to be discovered. >> in syria he begins reporting the human side of war, meeting and talking with ordinary citizens, including children.
>> manny also gains the trust of fighters of the free syrian army. the fsa. an opposition force made up of defectors from assad's military. in february, 2012, manny goes to homs. site of the anti-government movement. what he finds there is a story of a city being blown apart. >> homs was bad. they called it the capital of the revolution because that was the place where is up preg was the hardest. you had, like, every day, something like 15, 20 dead. so i every day, you have this constant movement of defiance from the population. >> one of the first evens manny films is a mass funeral for 138 people killed the previous night by shelling. people mourn their losses and swear revenge. two days later, manny
accompanies fighters from the fsa in a ferocious attack on the former syrian intelligence building. government snipers are holed up in the upper floors as the fighters pour fire into the building. when the fsa moves in, manny finds himself right in the middle of the firefight. >> every time i would follow them, i would think, first, am i doing the right thing? i know that we i'm running through the street, i can get a bullet, i want to be able to document all what is happening so i'm doing it cautiously, but of course, i'm aware. of course i feel fear, and i deal with that. >> the fsa wins this battle and makes off with much-needed ammunition. ♪ in homs, every friday is protest day, as the people tell their president what they think of him. >> you have protests every day. every night. but on friday, you have big protests. this is something that really
gives them strength a lot. you know, give the sense of bonding, a purpose, and there is a lot of singing. ♪ ♪ it's really inspiring. >> they're dancing because they're celebrating this revolution for freedom. who, unless they are optimists, knowing the consequence, will dance in a revolution in which they know the likelihood that they would die is very, very high? that just shows you what the syrian people are made of. >> massively outmatched against the tanks, jets, brigades and mortar fire of assad's army, the syrian opposition fights on. and filmmakers like manny do everything they can to show the world what is happening there. >> you start because you think it's important to do it. it's important to document. and you keep on because you think you need to keep on telling the story. and you take precautions. you make sure you're working with people that you know. you're working with your network. you have your ears and eyes open.
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radical feminists, activists, fighting discrimination against women using unconventional weapons. their half naked bodies. founded in 2008 in ukraine by an activist, this defiant collective is called femin which translates to women's beginning. a 22-year-old is one of the group's leaders. >> our tactic and strategy is to show women's point and women's opinion and women's voice everywhere.
>> the fight is against what it sees as men's domination of women across the globe. >> we see for us three main target we're going to crash. that is sex industry, dictatorship, and religion. >> like other protest movements, femin realizes it needs media attention to help publicize its ideas as widely as possible. julie is another member of femin. >> we are maybe feminism 2.0. we are using technology to spread our message. and we are bringing a photographer, a video maker, during actions. >> femin's founders are originally moved to act because of ukraine's thriving sex trade which is estimated to involve more than 50,000 women and girls. >> the main target at the beginning was sex industry that is treating women as sex slaves. it's still one of the main cliche about women from eastern europe, that all of them are prostitutes. we were talking about all these kind of things. in the beginning, questions an what is the position of woman today?
and we started to scream more and more. we became radical feminists. >> members of the group begin to realize the more provocatively they dress and undress, the more the press takes notice. >> we took off our tops, and the next day we found information about feminists' naked protests in nearly all languages of the world. >> they call their method sextremism. >> it's the name of tactic that we invented for ourselves. we realize that we have to be radical and we decided to be terrorists, peaceful terrorists. we're using our sex as weapon. >> naked protests are nothing new, but femin's signatures are their vocal militants and their use of messages inscribes directly on their body. >> it's not only bare breasts. they don't want to listen to us.
they don't want to listen to our voice. they want to look at us. now they can see our naked bodies, but it's always reaching what we demand. >> 25-year-old elvere joined femin in 2012 after she witnessed one of their topless protests in paris. >> femin uses the nudity in another context, not a seductive context where we're supposed to be nice and pretty and try to sell the project. now we don't sell project. we speak out loud and sell an idea. >> i am half naked, but i am not an object and i am not here for your pleasure, and i am here to deliver my own message. >> in august, 2012, a solo act of defiance in the ukrainian capital of kiev gets ina in very hot water. a protest dense the trial of the band pussy riot, arrested earlier that year. for an unauthorized art performance in a moscow church.
>> they did an action in the church. they were dancing and singing songs against the ideas of the dictator. >> destroying the cross which has stood on its site since 2004 forces ina to flee kiev during the night. >> i couldn't come back to ukraine anymore. i will spend five years in jail. >> ina moves to paris where she begins to lead femin in several highly publicized actions across europe, including a loud and cold protest in davos. >> we came to ask, to show our impression and opinion about how it is to be woman today in an economic world. who's the most oppressed part of society? we are. >> in a series of demonstrations against the catholic church and pope benedict. >> for us, all religions are bad because our religion, our base, domination of male upon women. and in a few seconds, security
services started to catch us and they arrested us. >> when the pope announces his retirement in february, 2013, femin activists celebrate by scandalizing visitors at historic cathedral of notre dame in paris. >> for me, it was one of our most successful action. you need to shock people and video, they are viral. the video, and the pictures, they are everywhere now. >> for us it's more important to have five cameras around than 50 people, because we know that behind each of the camera, there are a thousand million minds. >> despite the beatings and arrests, the group continues to grow all around the world. >> we don't need to recruit. at the beginning, yes. now people, they want to be femin. >> we have people from different countries that want to start their own femin branch. >> our goal is to make the first women's revolution in history.
this is our goal. >> a motorcyclist drags a deputy across a highway. >> i thought i was going to die that day. >> a suspect attack an officer behind the desk. >> he's reaching for my gun in the holster. >> an ex-con plows a hole through a maximum security wall. >> nobody has ever seen anything like that before. >> caught on camera, odd ishs jail breaks. >> i can't imagine what they were thinking. >> savage beatings. >> they were going to be administering their own form of jail. >> and one