French rally calls for wider burkini ban

Over 200 people have gathered in the southern French department of Herault, to march along its beaches calling on more authorities to join the burkini ban. Eleven French cities have recently vetoed the Muslim swimsuit.

On Sunday, people gathered on Palavas beach, to protest against the discreet Muslim swimwear on local public seaside, local media reported.

The protest, which was anonymously announced on social media earlier this week, gathered more than 200 people, Midi Libre reported. 

Requesting the banning of Muslim women's swimsuits, protesters were carrying banners reading they were "sick of incivility," and calling the burkinis "tools of radical Islam propaganda." They said their area was "secular" and not fit for traditional Muslim beach attire.

The protesters, many of them young locals who grew up on Palavas beaches, also expressed their disapproval of shisha, that is apparently smoked on the seaside, according to local media.

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The march was not prohibited by the authorities, yet they reportedly said there were no plans to adopt an anti-burkini ban locally. "If there has to be a decision to ban burkini, it must be taken on the national level," the media cited the mayor of Palavas-les-Flots, Christian Jeanjean as saying.

So far, 11 French municipalities have joined the ban, following Prime Minister Manuel Valls' remark that the swimwear is "not compatible" with French values. Such popular tourist destinations as Nice, Cannes, Eze and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera are among those that have introduced the burkini ban.