French prime minister backs local burkini bans, urges calm
17 August 2016, 16:37
Paris — France's prime minister is expressing support for local bans of burkini swimsuits, saying the swimwear is based on the "enslavement of women" and therefore not compatible with French values.
However, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Wednesday in the La Provence newspaper that he's not in favor of a national law against them.
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Three French Mediterranean towns have banned the burkini, citing security concerns after a summer marred by extremist attacks. Critics say the bans are discriminatory.
Valls said the swimwear represents a "provocation" and an "archaic vision" that women are "immodest, impure and that they should therefore be totally covered." The Socialist premier also warned that the far-right is profiting from the burkini tensions.
Burkinis, which cover the head and body, are very rare in France.