Corsica: Burkini Ban In France Continues After Beach Brawl

A mayor on the French island of Corsica today became the third nationwide to announce a ban on burqinis, after the full-body Islamic swimsuit allegedly sparked violent clashes.

Sisco mayor Pierre-Ange Vivoni said burqinis would be banned in the area from tomorrow.

Five people were injured and three cars set ablaze in the village of Sisco Saturday after a dispute between beach-goers ended with both sides reportedly throwing stones and bottles at one another.

According to some witnesses, the brawl erupted after tourists had photographed women bathing in Burkinis, a swimwear that covers the entire body, which Muslim women prefer to wear. The mayor told the Telegraph that the incident started when a tourist took a photo of women wearing burkinis. It was quite a trivial matter to begin with'. Two of the locals were injured by a harpoon, she said.

In Corsica, there were tense scenes yesterday as around 500 people gathered in the town of Bastia, seeking to enter the Lupino district which is home to a large North African community.

They attacked a group of young Corsicans aged 15 to 18 on the beach, whose role in the incidents was not immediately clear.

The unrest lasted for several hours, with three cars burnt and four people taken to hospital, one with a harpoon wound.

Some commentators fear the new ban on burkinis on Cannes beaches will make matters even worse.

North African women slashed several auto tires, while locals set fire to two cars and overturned another that belonged to immigrant families.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve condemned the violence and promised a full investigation and the arrest of those responsible.

The question of Islamic dress has always been a hot-button issue in France, which was the first European country to ban the full-face veil in public places in 2010.

He said he was not targeting Muslims but he wanted to get rid of Islamist fundamentalists on the island.

A court in Nice endorsed the Cannes decision on Saturday, ruling that "in the context of the state of emergency and the Nice attack ... forms of beachwear that indicate belief ... are likely to create or exacerbate tension ... and a threat to public order".

  • Joey Payne