Women dumped tonnes of sand outside the French Embassy in London on Thursday for an impromptu beach party to protest the country’s “burkini bans”.Demonstrators armed with lilos, inflatable flamingos and beach balls made sandcastles and chanted in opposition to “ludicrous” laws seeing Muslim women arrested and fined for covering up at Riviera resorts.Esmat Jeraj, 27, organised the protest with friends after being shocked, as many were around the world, by images of a woman being ordered to remove her top by police officers in Nice.
“Just seeing what happened to that woman in Nice made me incredibly frustrated and upset and I thought ‘something needs to be done’,” she told “I can’t even imagine how traumatising and humiliating that must have been.”
Ms Jeraj, who wears a headscarf, said she wanted the London demonstration to show solidarity with “anyone forced to wear anything, anywhere by anyone”.Different reasons have been given for the bans in more than a dozen French communes and cities but several officials have made a link to a recent wave of Isis-inspired terror attacks.
“It’s absurd,” Ms Jeraj said. “The war on terror does not begin inside a woman’s wardrobe.
“By wearing a burkini, women are empowering themselves to go out and sit on the beach, and enjoy the sunshine and the French seaside with their loved ones and their families.“By banning that what you are actually doing is pushing them to no longer be part of that society, and marginalising them further.