WOL – The French ban on the burkini is threatening to turn into a farce as police officers armed with pepper spray and batons marched onto a beach today and ordered a woman to strip off.
Four burly cops stood over the middle-aged woman, who had been quietly sunbathing on the Promenade des Anglais beach in Nice – yards from the scene of the Bastille Day lorry attack – and watched her take off a Muslim-style garment which protected her modesty.
Another young Muslim mother was ordered off the beach at Cannes and fined for simply wearing a headscarf.
Three armed officers pointed a pepper spray canister in the 34-year-old’s face and told her she was in breach of a new rule outlawing swimming costumes that cover the entire body.
She said the ‘racist’ officers simply wanted to humiliate her in front of her children and other family members, even though she was not even wearing a burkini.
It was the latest in a series of incidents in the south of France and comes after video emerged of armed police waiting for Muslim women to come out of the sea at nearby Nice, and then warning them about their choice of headscarves.
And just days ago, four women were fined 38 euros for wearing their burkinis on the beach in Cannes.
Mathilde Cusin, a journalist with the France 4 TV channel who witnessed the entire incident, said: ‘I saw three police officers watching the beach. One of them had his finger on the trigger of his tear gas device, no doubt containing pepper.’
Then Ms Cusin said the officers went for Siam, was wearing ‘a simple hijab [a headscarf that does not cover the face] around her hair’.
People then started shouting insults at Siam, telling her she was not welcome in France, and that she should ‘go home’.
Ms Cusin said: ‘It was pretty violent. I had the impression of a pack going after a woman sitting on the ground, crying with her daughter.’
Siam accepted an on-the-spot fine of around nine pounds, and her details were recorded on what will amount to a criminal record. She said: ‘Today we are not allowed on the beach. Tomorrow, the street? Tomorrow, we’ll be forbidden from practicing our religion at all?
‘I’m in the country of human rights. I see no trace of the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. I am outraged that this could happen in France.’ (dailymail/nia/data2)