Ingrid Melander, Yahoo News, August 25, 2016
Burkinis must be banned throughout France, ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy said at his first campaign rally for the 2017 presidential election.
“I will be the president that re-establishes the authority of the state,” Sarkozy told supporters packing a sports hall in Chateaurenard, a Provence town where Sarkozy’s Les Republicains just beat the far-right FN in regional elections last year.
Several French coastal towns, including on the Riviera, have banned the full-body swimwear worn by some Muslim women on the grounds that it breaks French laws on secularism.
The bans play into fears over public security following attacks by Islamist militants in Paris, Nice and elsewhere in the past 20 months.
“I refuse to let the burkini impose itself in French beaches and swimming pools . . . there must be a law to ban it throughout the Republic’s territory,” he said.
Security and immigration are now central to the presidential election campaign and Sarkozy is tapping into the worries of voters on the right with a hardline platform of law and order.
“In my speech there is no fear, there is no hatred, there is just common sense,” Sarkozy said, accusing critics of closing their eyes to ordinary voters’ woes. “The French people are not fascist because they consider there are security problems”.
“I want the French to feel they are protected,” he said.