A town on the island of Corsica has become the third place in France to ban the burkini, following a riot between families of North African descent and local youths.
The confrontation allegedly began after some tourists filmed Muslim women wearing burqinis on the beach.
Sisco Mayor Ange-Pierre Vivoni, who announced the order on Sunday evening, explained that he made the decision to reconcile “two communities,” apparently referring to the Muslims and the locals.
“Today there is so much tension in the town and unfortunately throughout Corsica [and we should] avoid any resumption of violence,” he said, as cited by France 3 Corsica.
The brawl broke out in the Sisco commune of France’s Haute-Corse department on Saturday evening. The spat began when tourists took a picture of a group of 10 North Africans, including a pregnant woman and children, who were sitting on a beach. The women were reportedly wearing burqinis. According to BFMTV, the people were Moroccan nationals living in Corsica.
The North Africans made it clear that they didn’t want to be photographed, but a group of some 40 Corsicans arrived later and also started a discussion that escalated into a confrontation.
Stones and bottles were reportedly thrown at the North Africans and three of their vehicles were burned.
The French Interior Ministry later said that at least four people, including a pregnant woman, had been injured in the brawl. France 3 Corsica put the number injured at five, two of whom were Corsicans and three of North African origin.
Some 100 police officers had to be deployed to calm the situation.
This is not the first burqini ban introduced in France in recent weeks. On Saturday, Villeneuve-Loubet on the French Riviera outlawed burqinis for “hygienic reasons,” according to the town’s mayor, Lionnel Luca, who made the decision.
Earlier on Friday, it was announced that Cannes Mayor David Lisnard had ruled that burqinis should be banned on the city’s beaches. “Access to beaches and for swimming is banned to anyone who does not have [bathing apparel] that respects good customs and secularism,” his ruling read.
On Monday, the Pennes-Mirabeau commune near Marseille cancelled a controversial pool party that had been planned by a Muslim group due to strong public reaction. The organizers, the Smile 13 group, which describes itself on Facebook as a sports and social event group for women and children, said they had received death threats, with one person even claiming they had received bullets in the mail.
Eileen E. White