Three topless women with the feminist group Femen protested outside a Tunis courthouse over the imprisonment of a Tunisian member on Wednesday, shouting "Free Amina, free Amina."
The three European women — two French and one German — were soon forcibly covered, arrested and taken away from a hostile crowd, and according to the group's leader, could face up to six months in prison.
The crowd then attacked journalists covering the protest, and police arrested several for questioning before they were released, according to the Guardian.
"The ministry of justice is not a house of ill repute," an angry bystander said.
Femen appears to have done what it set out to do: draw international attention to the case of a Tunisian girl known as Amina Tyler, 19, who may receive two years in prison for allegedly graffiting the group's name on a mosque.
More from GlobalPost: 'Muslim Women Against Femen' pushes back against topless protesters
Tyler was arrested on May 19 and charged with possession of a dangerous object, likely a pepper spray canister. Reports say she was her near a religious center in Kairouan where the Salafist group Ansar al-Sharia had intended to hold a conference deemed illegal by police. Tyler is due to appear in court on Thursday.
"It is the first action that we have taken in the Arab world," Femen leader Inna Shevchenko told Agence France-Presse. "I prepared this international team in Paris and they were sent yesterday to Tunis."
"These [Arab-Muslim] countries and these totalitarian regimes prey on women," she added. "We don't take any notice of this kind."
You can watch footage of the protest (warning: nudity) here.