The municipal council of Grenoble validated Monday evening a modification of the internal regulations of the swimming pools resulting in the authorization of the wearing of the burkini, after a close vote. The subject has revived a political controversy in France.
The deliberation was adopted with a narrow majority of 29 votes for, 27 against and two abstentions, after 2 hours 30 minutes of sometimes tense debates.
The ecologist mayor Eric Piolle brushed aside the objections of the opposition, invoking a feminist fight, health and secularism, because nothing prohibits the wearing of religious clothing in public space, “including at the swimming pool” .
Length of jerseys more regulated
The now revised rules of procedure for swimming pools provide that the length of swimsuits will no longer be limited, explained Sports Assistant Céline Mennetrier. At the same time, it will allow women to bathe topless and all bathers to wear, for example, a swimsuit to protect them from the sun.
Unlike most swimming pools in Switzerland, in particular, a large part of French pools indeed prohibit swimming shorts and bermudas, men having to wear swimming trunks.
In France, the burkini has so far only been authorized in the swimming pools of only one other large city, in Rennes (west) since 2018.
Justice could still get involved
The wearing of the burkini was claimed by the controversial Alliance Citoyenne association, which since 2019 has organized several punch operations in Grenoble swimming pools to get its message across. Its members, gathered in a room in Grenoble, attended the city council meeting by video broadcast.
The president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region Laurent Wauquiez (Les Républicains) quickly reacted to the vote of the municipal council, accusing Eric Piolle of “definitively recording his break with secularism and the values of our Republic”.
>> More details in our Monday morning article, shortly before the vote:
The prefect of Isère Laurent Prévost informed him already on Sunday evening that he would seize the administrative court of Grenoble, on the instructions of the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, to block the measure if it were adopted.