A Reuters photographer said the woman jumped over guard rails and rushed onto the nativity scene shouting “God is woman”. She had the same slogan painted on her bare back.
A Vatican gendarme stopped her from taking the statue and she was detained. The incident happened about two hours before Pope Francis delivered his Christmas message to some 50,000 people in the square.
The group’s website identified her as Alisa Vinogradova and called her a “sextremist”. It says the goal of the group, which was founded in Ukraine, is “complete victory over patriarchy”.