Burkinis banned on French Riviera beaches by mayor

The French Riviera resort of Cannes has banned women from wearing burkinis, otherwise known as full-body swimsuits, because they "symbolise Islamist extremism".

City ordinances in Cannes effectively forbade the burkini as well as swimwear that "ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are now the target of terrorist attacks".

A Cannes official said the ordinance was in effect for August and that violators risked a 38-euro ($42) fine.

Cannes' Human Rights League president Hervé Lavisse stated that the ban would not work and that it would instead "inflame tensions", which is why an administrative court should disregard the law. As the swimsuits cover a majority of the body, Muslim women are able to swim while still observing their religious moral codes.

The ban comes a week after a controversial "burkini party" at an indoor swimming pool in Marseille was cancelled when the organisers were sent bullets in the post.

He said the ruling intended "to avoid any disturbance to public order in the region which was hit by attacks".

David Lisnard called burkinis "the symbol of Islamic extremism" and said they could disrupt public order, reported French news agency Agence-France Presse.

Official secularism The Cannes beach ban is the latest of many French measures seen as singling out Islam, the country's number two religion, in the name of official secularism.

France banned the wearing of the full-face covering burka six years ago, with former president Nicolas sarkozy calling the garment a "walking coffin".

The beachfront in Nice, France, near where a French-Tunisian attacker killed 84 people as he drove a lorry along the Promenade on July 14.

The issue of religious clothing in France is a long-running one, with the decision to ban the full face veil from public places in 2011 sparking much debate in the proudly secular nation.

The idea that a piece of women's clothing could be a sign of radical Islamism and terrorism has also caused protests on social media.

The event in the suburb of Pennes-Mirabeau was the brainchild of Smile 13, a women's association catering for Arabs in Marseille, whose population of almost two million includes around 220,000 Muslims, mainly of Algerian origin.

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