Revealed: the protester who ‘attacked’ Mario Draghi

Josephine Witt, an ex-Femen activist, interrupted the European Central Bank’s President during a press conference. Who is she, and what are her aims?

The most powerful man in Europe was attacked by a 21-year-old activist on Wednesday, causing chaos at the European Central Bank. Josephine Witt jumped onto a table in front of Mario Draghi, president of the ECB, and shouted “end the ECB dictatorship” repeatedly. She threw paper copies of her demands at Mr Draghi, while showering him with confetti. Ms Witt, from Hamburg, who was formerly associated with radical feminist group Femen and is now acting as a “freelance activist”, was wearing a T-shirt featuring the words “end the ECB dick-tatorship”.

Her manifesto criticised the ECB for believing itself to be “master of the universe”, warning that “you will hear our outcries louder, brighter, inside and outside your halls, everywhere, and you shall deserve no rest”. She described the letters as “papillons”, in reference to the notes distributed by French resistance fighters to citizens during the Second World War. Papillon is French for butterfly.

Ms Witt said: “I do not expect this illegitimate institution to hear my voice, neither to understand my message.” Making reference to her “butterflies” she continued: “Today I’m just a butterfly sending you a sentence, but be afraid more are coming.”

To gain access to the press conference, the ECB said Ms Witt “registered as a journalist for a news organisation she does not represent”. Ms Witt told The Telegraph that she had pretended to be working for Vice Media, knowing that they hire many young reporters. The central bank said that it was investigating the incident.

Ms Witt said she would continue to engage in “hardcore activism” in response to what she believed was an “undemocratic” ECB. She added that recent protests in Frankfurt during the opening of the ECB’s new offices were a reaction to Mr Draghi’s leadership. “[He] never got a mandate, never got voted for or elected,” she said. “He imposes policies on these societies that are completely undemocratic,” she added. A friend of Ms Witt said she opposes what she describes as “European neo-liberalism”, and argued that the ECB cannot act “without a state of surveillance, of police and violence”.

Lees het hele artikel op The Telegraph