Six French Muslim women have been fined and temporarily banned from swimming for wearing burkinis in a municipal pool.
The incident happened on Wednesday at the municipal swimming pool in Grenoble where burkinis are banned.
The women spent around 20 minutes in the water before being led out by police who fined them. They were also banned from swimming for two months.
The Alliance Citoyenne de Grenoble organised the pro-burkini action. “It was 20 minutes of happiness. People applauded us when we entered the water with our covered swimsuits,” said Naïma, an activist, who said she “was able to swim in a public swimming pool for the first time in ten years.”
There is no blanket ban on burkinis across France but around 20 towns and cities have chosen to outlaw them. Many people in the country regard the burkini as a symbol of political Islam and incompatible with secularism.
Annabelle Bretton, the deputy mayor of Grenoble, said: “We told them that we would always act this way with every action of this type, because we apply the house rules. They want us to change it, but for now, it is not the order of the day. We have already received them three times.”
But the former mayor, Alain Carignon was indignant: “The people of Grenoble are deprived of their swimming pools. Two are already closed. There are also gangs which come to clash there. Grenoble is the only city where you have to register three days before on the internet to be able to swim. And now there is political Islamism which tries to impose the burkini in the swimming pools.”