[JURIST] A French court in Bastia on the island of Corsica upheld a local ban on full-body “burkini” swimsuits on Tuesday. This decision was handed down despite last month’s Council of State ruling [JURIST report] in the French city of Cannes. The Bastia court found [Guardian report] the ban to be legal because it had been implemented in response to a disruption of public order. The ban was imposed [BBC report] by the mayor of Sisco after a large fight broke out in August when a woman in a burkini was allegedly spotted at the beach. The court’s decision dismissed a challenge to the ban made by France’s Human Rights League [advocacy website, in French].
Tensions in France have been high since an event in Nice in July in which more than 84 citizens were killed [BBC report] by a truck that drove through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day. Nice was one of the first cities [Guardian report] to ban the burkini, with city authorities claiming that wearing the garment was a risk to public order. Tensions were further increased recently when photographs from a Nice beach showing police surrounding a woman in a headscarf [Guardian report] and a long-sleeved top surfaced. Nice authorities denied the woman had been forced to remove clothing. At least 30 fines [Guardian report] have been issued in Nice since the burkini ban was introduced during the summer. Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy [BBC profile] stated to the press that he would amend the constitution to ban full-body “burkini” swimsuits if re-elected next April. His comments [JURIST report] came after a statement was made by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who said a ban on burkinis would be unconstitutional [La Croix report, in French].