French burkini ban sparks beach-themed protest in London (PHOTO, VIDEO)
A beach party with sand, swimming suits and a lobster-shaped air mattress has been thrown outside the French Embassy in London to show solidarity with Muslim women in France who have been banned from wearing the so-called burkinis, swimsuits that cover the whole body except the face.
Attended the #WearWhatYouWant protest today outside the French embassy. I may not (yet, unfortunately) wear a hijab, but I wear a 'burkini' when I go on holiday, because I like to cover up and that's my right. Not even going to say anything more because it is so blindingly obvious why the #BurkiniBan is so wrong.
The Stand Up to Racism protest started at 6 p.m. local time and attracted dozens of women, dressed both in burkinis and ordinary swimsuits, who claimed that the ban is “part of the racist and sexist policy being imposed on Muslim women in France.” Men were also present, albeit in smaller numbers.
Activists built sand castles, played with a beach ball and held signs with the slogan: “Wear What You Want.”
“The bans are claimed to be ‘protecting the population’ of France from terrorism and religious ideas, but women choosing to cover up on the beach is no threat to society,” the event’s Facebook page states.
The ban had been introduced in many French coastal town and cities and was now suspended on Friday by the France’s highest administrative court.
The ban “has dealt a serious and clearly illegal blow to fundamental liberties such as the freedom of movement, freedom of conscience and personal liberty,” the court ruled. However, the ban has been lifted only in the southern town of Villeneuve-Loubet, while in other towns it still remains in force.
The ban was supposed to raise security and promote hygiene at the French beaches, but the argument looks highly non-convincing, one of the protesters told RT’s Harry Fear.
“I’m just wondering why they don’t say that about nuns and Orthodox Jews who also cover themselves fully while at the beach. The main argument is that this is an attack on Islam and this is an attack on women,” the protester said.
“The idea that hygiene comes into question is ridiculous,” another activist said.
“Muslim women are being demonized. There’s no need for that. That could be someone who is simply a bit self-conscious and doesn’t want to show parts of their body,” a woman said.
Protesters said they were especially outraged when they saw Wednesday photos of a woman forced to remove long-sleeved top and legging by police officers at a beach in Nice. In another instance, a woman was said to have been fined for failing to wear “an outfit respecting good morals and secularism.”
The full-body swimsuit was outlawed in Cannes, Nice and nearly 15 other south-eastern towns since it “overtly manifests adherence to a religion at a time when France and places of worship are the target of terrorist attacks.” The ban also referred to the Bastille Day attack when a lorry smacked into a crowd of revelers, killing 85 people.