WORLD

France Burkini Ban Overturned By Top Court

26/08/2016 11:47 PM AEST | Updated 27/08/2016 12:59 AM AEST
JUSTIN TALLIS/Getty Images
A woman wearing a 'Burkini' joins a protest outside the French Embassy in London on August 25, 2016, during a 'Wear what you want beach party' to demonstrate against the ban on Burkinis on French beaches and to show solidarity with Muslim women. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve warned Wednesday against stigmatising Muslims, as a furore over the banning of burkinis grew with the emergence of pictures showing police surrounding a veiled woman on a beach. Dozens of French towns and villages, mostly on the Cote d'Azur, have banned beachwear that 'conspicuously' shows a person's religion -- a measure aimed at the full-body Islamic swimsuit but which has also been used against women wearing long clothes and a headscarf. / AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

PARIS — France's top administrative court has overturned a town burkini ban amid shock and anger worldwide after some Muslim women were ordered to remove body-concealing garments on French Riviera beaches.

The ruling by the Council of State Friday specifically concerns a ban in the Riviera town of Villeneuve-Loubet, but the binding decision is expected to set a legal precedent for all the 30 or so French resort municipalities that have issued similar decrees.

burkini ban france

A woman wearing a 'Burkini' joins a protest outside the French Embassy in London on Thursday during a 'Wear what you want beach party' to demonstrate against the ban on Burkinis on French beaches and to show solidarity with Muslim women. (Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)

Lawyers for two human rights groups challenged the legality of the ban to the top court, saying the orders infringe basic freedoms and that mayors have overstepped their powers by telling women what to wear on beaches.

Mayors had cited concern about public order after deadly Islamic extremist attacks this summer, and many officials have argued that burkinis oppress women.

Lawyer Patrice Spinosi, representing the Human Rights League, told reporters that the decision should set a precedent, and that other mayors should conform to it. He also said women who have already received fines can protest them based on Friday's decision.

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