French police force woman to strip off burkini on Nice beach

Authorities in 15 towns have banned burkinis, citing public concern following recent terrorist attacks in the country

Four police officers surround a woman resting on the beach Nice, and force her to strip off her swimsuit
Four police officers surround a woman resting on the beach Nice, and force her to strip off her swimsuit

Photographs have emerged of armed French police confronting a woman on a beach and making her remove a burkini as part of a controversial ban on the swimwear.

Authorities in several French towns have implemented bans on the garment, which covers the body and hair, but not the face, citing concerns about religious clothing in the wake of recent terrorist killings in the country.

The images of police confronting the woman in Nice on Tuesday show at least four police officers standing over a woman who was resting on the shore at the town’s Promenade des Anglais. After they arrive, she appears to remove her swimsuit, while one of the officers appears to take notes or issue an on-the-spot fine.

The photographs emerged as a mother of two also told on Tuesday how she had been fined on the beach in nearby Cannes wearing leggings, a tunic and a headscarf.

The Guardian cites a witness to the scene, Mathilde Cousin, who confirmed the incident. “The saddest thing was that people were shouting ‘go home’, some were applauding the police,” she said. “Her daughter was crying.”

Last week, Nice became the latest French resort to ban the burkini. Reportedly, using language similar to the bans imposed earlier at other locations, the city barred clothing that “overtly manifests adherence to a religion at a time when France and places of worship are the target of terrorist attacks”.

The ban by several towns will come before France’s highest administrative court on Thursday following an appeal by the Human Rights League, a French NGO. 

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