Following an announcement by a group to hold a second “burkini” protest at a pool in the French city of Grenoble, counter-protesters have called on locals to swim in the pool wearing nothing at all.
Last Sunday, a group of around a dozen women belonging to the Alliance Citoyenne (Citizens’ Alliance) protested at a pool that had banned the wearing of the Islamic sharia-compliant swimwear, with police being called soon after the group were told the burkini was against the rules of the pool.
According to a report from France Bleu, the group has announced another protest to take place on Sunday, but this time others on social media have suggested bathers take off all of their clothes and bathe naked in counter-protest.
“Next Sunday, we invite all the citizens attached to the values of the Republic to get naked in front of the commandos in burkinis! They want to extinguish the enlightenment: together, let’s drop the bathrobes! Long live secularism uninhibited!” the counter-protesters wrote.
Grenoble’s local government official for sport Sadok Bouzaïene said he did not want to contribute to the “buzz” surrounding the issue saying that the women “have broken the swimming pool rules that exist for reasons of hygiene and safety. We do not exclude anyone but there are rules.”
Hygiene has also been used as a reason to ban the burkini in other swimming pools in Germany and Austria, although a recent case in the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate overturned a ban after a judge deemed it in violation of the constitution.
France has been wrestling with the topic of the sharia swimwear since 2016 when it was banned on public beaches along the French Riviera. That ban was later overturned by the French supreme court later that same year.
The proposal of a nude protest echoes comments made by former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls who slammed the burkini and invoked Marianne, the Goddess of liberty, in a speech saying: “Marianne has a naked breast because she is feeding the people! She is not veiled, because she is free! That is the Republic!”