Burkini in swimming pool: Grenoble "takes note" of the decision of the Council of State

The Grenoble municipality replied at the start of the evening “take note“of this decision while”regret(ing) that the Council of State attributed to it intentions that it did not have“.

In its order, the highest administrative court confirmed the decision rendered in May by the administrative court of Grenoble, finding that “contrary to the stated objective” by the city, the adaptation of the internal regulations of its swimming pools “was only intended to authorize the wearing of the burkini in order to satisfy a claim of a religious nature“.

This “very targeted derogation“to the usual rules for wearing close-fitting bathing suits enacted”for health and safety reasons“is, according to the judge,”likely to affect the proper functioning of the public service“and contrary to”equal treatment of users“.

The new municipal regulation, estimates the Council of State in a press release, therefore bears “violation of the principle of neutrality of public services“.

The Grenoble city council had adopted this criticized provision in mid-May, which authorized the burkini – without naming it – by a narrow majority.

The Ministry of the Interior, via the prefecture of Isère, had immediately filed a “secularism“, a procedure resulting from the so-called law against separatism which allows prefects to seize the administrative judge of an act of a local authority deemed contrary to the principles of secularism.

In its press release on Tuesday evening, the town hall of Grenoble reaffirms that it wanted to register “in line with the decisions of the Defender of Rights” and “allow equal access for users to the public swimming pool service solely with regard to health and safety rules without discrimination“.

According to her, the new swimming pool regulations are “despite everything a great progress“.

– “Refusal of the skirt“-

It allows, beyond the point suspended by the administrative court, equality for women and men – by lifting the ban on monokini for women -, protects health and improves universal access to public service to all by lifting the ban on wearing close-fitting swimwear“, she underlines.

After the decision of the Council of State, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin praised on Twitter a “victory for the law +separatism+, for secularism, and beyond, for the whole Republic“. He also rejoiced that the jurisdiction had “sanctioned” the “communitarianism” of the ecologist mayor of Grenoble, Eric Piolle.

The Council of State (…) refuses the skirt. The fight for the freedom of Muslim women in France is ostensibly long. He will continue until victory“, for its part, regretted the association Alliance Citoyenne, known for its pro-burkini punch operations in Grenoble swimming pools since 2019.

The burkini had already been the subject of a national controversy in the summer of 2016, when around thirty cities had banned its wearing on their beaches. Before the Council of State cancels their decisions, deemed disproportionate.

The Council of State does not in any way question the ban on the wearing of the burkini in public space that it had imposed in 2016“, estimated the lawyer of the League of Human Rights (LDH) Patrice Spinosi, who had pleaded for the authorization of the burkini alongside the town hall of Grenoble, during the hearing last week.

He limits himself to specifying that a mayor cannot specifically authorize the use of the burkini in a municipal swimming pool while maintaining the ban on the wearing of a non-tight swimsuit.“, he added. “Concretely, this decision essentially concerns the particular situation of Grenoble and cannot be generalized.“.

The new regulations, which also allowed topless bathing for women and anti-UV swimsuits for all, had triggered a national political storm, as regularly on subjects related to Islamic culture (veil, burkini, halal food) and to its relationship to secularism in France.

The former mayor of Grenoble and elected opposition member Alain Carignon announced on Tuesday that he would ask for the “resignation” of Mr. Piolle on Monday in the municipal council, while the deputy LR Eric Ciotti claimed that the “prohibition” burkini either “clearly“enshrined in law.

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