Topless members of the Ukrainian feminist group Femen have disrupted carnival traffic at Rio de Janeiro's international airport with a topless protest against against sexual tourism. The activists, who wore only knickers, shouted slogans such as "Brazil is not a whorehouse" and "sex tourists go home" as tourists arrived on a flight from Italy. They also held sign boards reading, "cheap pretty woman".

"We are protesting because during carnival, sexual tourism goes up 30 percent," 20-year-old Sara Winter, head of the Brazilian branch of Femen, said.

The organisation, founded in 2008, has attracted global attention with its signature topless protests, fighting for women's rights. Femen's Brazilian branch reportedly has 20 members.

Femen activists recently interrupted the opening ceremony of the Berlin Film Festival, to protest against female circumcision. In May, the group held a protest, seizing the football trophy of the 2012 European football championships on display in Ukraine to protest against the increase of sex tourism in the former Soviet republic. They also protested naked in Istanbul on International Women's Day, to put the spotlight on domestic violence in Turkey.

The annual Rio Carnival draws huge crowds of visitors from all over the globe. More than 900,000 international tourists are expected to attend this year, up 5.8 percent on last year, according to local tourism officials.

"Since 2009, the event has been growing immensely, while at the same time, staying in tune with the city, the locals and the tourists," Rio's secretary of tourism, Antonio Pedro Figueira de Mello said, "It keeps getting better every year, and that shows."

Rio will also host football's World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympic Games in 2016.

Click here to see a slideshow of spectacular photographs from the first day of the Rio Carnival 2013.

Click here to see photographs of doctors dressed as clowns, cheering up patients during the Rio Carnival 2013.

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