Photographs of armed French policemen asking a woman on France’s Nice beach to remove her burkini has gone viral. Even as the controversial ban on the burkini continues in France, this incident becoming the latest one to make headlines.
The officers were enforcing the ban on burkinis, asking a woman lazing on the beach to take off the headscarf. But, as has been pointed out by many on social media platforms, the woman wasn’t even wearing a burkini.
Authorities in several French towns have implemented bans on the Burkini — a swimwear for Muslim women launched by Aheda Zanetti, an Australian designer. The attire covers the body and head and is being banned outrageously by the French government 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, the scene of last month’s Bastille Day lorry attack.
Just let this sink in. Men with guns forcing a women to undress, with the weight of the law behind them. pic.twitter.com/4BI16Bbss9
— Abdul-Azim আজিম (@AbdulAzim) August 23, 2016
But this image of armed men forcing a woman to take off her clothes in public has had other repercussions. Some have warned against the move, and the way it is being enforced, saying that this will not only further deepen divisions within Europe but also validate the ‘us versus them’ claim that religious extremists have been making to propagate their ideology.
Earlier this month, authorities in Cannes and Villeneuve-Loubet, on the French Riviera, also banned the swimwear, said a BBC report. David Lisner, the mayor of Cannes called burkinis — “symbol of Islamic extremism”.
“I was told that there was a couple on one of our beaches where the wife was swimming fully dressed, and I considered that unacceptable for hygienic reasons and unwelcome given the general situation,” said Lionel Luca, the mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet in the French Riviera had told AFP.