Men tell woman to take her clothes off on beach, supported by the full weight of the law
Photographs emerged today of a gang of armed French police confronting a woman lying alone on a beach and forcing her to remove her clothing.
It sounds like a horrific scene from a film, but it’s not, it’s part of the ongoing controversial ban on the burkini, and it actually happened.
The photos come to light as several French towns implemented bans on the Burkini, which covers the body and head, but allows Muslim women to swim and enjoy the beach. It’s now banned by 15 towns in France, with authorities citing concerns about religious clothing after recent terrorist attacks in the country.
In the photo, the four officers, heavily armed, loom over the woman as she rests on the shore at Nice’s Promenade des Anglais – who, it’s important to note, isn’t even wearing a burkini, but instead a long sleeved blue tunic. A crowd of people behind the scene look on uncomfortably.
The photos have sparked a fierce debate about freedom of expression and women’s rights. One friend shared this image on Facebook, which shows the chilling similarities in how women’s bodies were policed on the beach 100 years ago to how they are today.
You don’t have to like the burka. You don’t even have to know everything about the burkini ban. But you do have to respect the choice of Muslim women to wear it. A group of male police officers ordering a lone woman to take off her clothes – supported by the full weight of the law and without the threat of repercussions, is an image that makes us wince, and rightly so.
Writing for The Guardian, the creator of the burkini, Aheda Zanetti said: “I created it to give women freedom, not to take it away.
“The burkini does not symbolise Islam, it symbolises leisure and happiness and fitness and health.”
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