Pools in France close after women defy burkini ban

June, 2019

The two public swimming pools in southeast France have shut down despite the current heatwave after a row over the use of full-body Islamic "burkini" swimsuits.

Seven burkini-clad women, accompanied by activists from the Alliance Citoyenne rights group, went to the Grenoble pools on Sunday demanding the right to bathe - despite a municipal ban on the swimwear worn by Muslim women. They said the ban was discrimination.

The women want the public pools, which currently require men to wear swim briefs and women to wear bikinis or one-piece swimsuits, to change their regulations to accommodate burkini wearers.

Local member of parliament Eric Ciotti, of the right-wing Republicans party, said on Twitter the burkini "has no place in France where women are equal to men".

But Alliance Citoyenne likened the women's action to that of American civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

The lifeguards at the pools asked for the shutdown on Wednesday because "they are there to maintain safety and they can't do that when they have to worry about the crowds" generated by the controversial swimsuits, the town hall said in a statement.

"We are working towards a positive solution" to the problem, it added.

Source: Aljazeera