Watch: Women protesting burkini ban fined by French police

Women in Grenoble protest the local ban on burkinis
Women in Grenoble protest the local ban on burkinis Copyright Reuters
Copyright Reuters
By Sinead Barry with Reuters
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"Women's rights will recede whenever men use secularism as a pretext for Islamophobia," said one Twitter user.


A group of women protesting local burkini bans in France were fined by police on Sunday after taking to a public pool in Grenoble wearing the controversial swimsuits.

The women, ten of whom wore burkinis, were demonstrating against the ban on their swimwear. The protestors said that they had received the support of fellow pool users, but after leaving the pool, were handed a fine from the local police.

"We would like the law to be changed so we have the freedom to bathe in burkini whatever the reason may be," said protestor Soumia on Tuesday.

The demonstration came as part of the wider "Civil Rights for Muslim Women" movement, which was launched by civil liberties group Alliance Citoyenne last year.

Soumia, who is a member of Alliance Citoyenne, said: "We are ready to enter into a dialogue with the municipality." If these talks do not happen, however, Soumia said she and her fellow activists "are ready to go back to a beautiful swimming pool this coming Sunday despite the daily threats we receive".

The burkini has sparked much controversy since several French municipalities banned it in 2016. At the time, conservative local authorities argued that the burkini violated France's mandate for secularism, while many believed this reasoning to be thinly veiled Islamophobia.

Reactions to the women's protest on social media were largely supportive. In solidarity with the demonstration, one Twitter user posted: "Women's rights will recede whenever men use secularism as a pretext for Islamophobia."

The protest was not, however, without opposition. Member of the European Parliament Florian Philippot took to Twitter to express his dissatisfaction with what he called the "Islamic coup".

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Video editor • Nathalie Texier

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