French police stop women in burkinis from swimming in Cannes

ANADOLU AGENCY
PARIS
Published 26.05.2017 00:00
Updated 27.05.2017 11:36
French police officers arrest a group of women on May 26, 2017 outside the luxury Martinez hotel in Cannes, southern France, before their attempt to take part in a bathing in burkini swimsuit on a beach of Cannes. (AFP Photo)
French police officers arrest a group of women on May 26, 2017 outside the luxury Martinez hotel in Cannes, southern France, before their attempt to take part in a bathing in burkini swimsuit on a beach of Cannes. (AFP Photo)

French police on Friday prevented a group of Muslim women from swimming in their burkinis in the seaside city of Cannes, home to the ongoing annual Cannes Film Festival.

Around 10 women gathered on the beach at Hotel Martinez -- where the festival is being held -- to swim in their burkinis to show support for the concealing swimsuit.

But police stopped and questioned the women, who had gathered at the call of Rachid Nekkaz, a French-Algerian businessman, to celebrate the defeat of last summer's burkini ban on some French Riviera beaches.

Nekkaz told Nice Matin daily that the event was a way of celebrating the French high court ruling last year which allows any woman to wear a burkini.

"The Cannes Film Festival is all about liberty and tolerance," the paper quoted Nekkaz as saying. "It's the perfect place to celebrate this newfound freedom in the city that was the first to ban the burkini."

Cannes was the first city to forbid burkinis last August, and many French resorts followed suit.

But France's highest administrative court -- the Council of State -- overturned the ban, calling it a violation of fundamental liberties.

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