Pool temporarily closed in Paris after feminist and Muslim activists defied “Burkini ban”

September, 2019

On September 1, fifteen activists feminists and Muslims have caused the closure of a swimming pool in Paris Sunday, after bathing in two-piece jersey and burkini to protest against the ban, which is labelled as “shameful and absurd” by right groups like Human Rights Watch.

The group entered a swimming pool in the 11th district and five Muslim women bathed in burkini, supported by other feminist activists in one or two-piece suits, but also transgender people and men members of the collective created for the opportunity, as reported by the AFP.

"We will swim, we will swim! Even if the racists do not want, we will swim!": The slogans were greeted with looks sometimes amused, sometimes furious by other swimmers. Some racist people in the pool tried to surpress the protest. A man even exposed his genitalia to the protestors. Later on, the police arrived to the scene.

After about thirty minutes, the management closed the pool and the activists left with a banner with the slogan, "swimming for all, stop Islamophobia". "The goal is to access the pool as Muslim women who wear the veil," said Nargesse (without giving her last name), 27, before bathing in burkini. "We want to claim our choice to wear it and to continue to have our leisure without being bothered by discriminating regulations," added the young woman, denouncing "the rise of Islamophobic ideas."

In a statement, the group called for "the change of the regulations of the swimming pools, and the accessibility to the leisures for all". "Our bodies belong to us, we cover them or discover them for reasons that concern us", argued the activists.