Responding to the international outrage over photos of French armed police forcing Muslim women to remove their clothes on a Mediterranean beach, one French official threatened Wednesday to sue whoever dares to share such photos on social media.
“Photos showing police officers from the city of Nice, doing their job, are spreading on social media since this morning and have sparked defamatory language and threats against these officers,” said Nice’s right-wing Vice Mayor Christian Estrosi.
Since the Daily Mail released the photos a day earlier, showing four armed policemen forcing a woman lying on the beach to remove her tunic, the hashtag #WTFFrance became one of the top Twitter trends.
“I am denouncing what seems like a manipulation that undermines the local police, and puts the officers at risk,” said Estrosi. “Complaints have already been filed by now in order to sue whoever issues photos of our policemen and threaten them on the social media.”
The measure, however, would be completely illegal, and the city hall was unable to explains the legal grounds that would support it to online media outlet Numerama.
In less than a week, since Nice city hall issued the “burkini” ban, 14 Muslim women have been fined.
Many voices have been raised across the world denouncing the ban, which is a way to stigmatize and further exclude the Muslim community in France, ostensibly in the name of hygiene, security and feminism.
On Thursday, France’s highest court is expected to debate the ban, now imposed in about 30 cities, at the request of the Human Rights League and the Collective Against Islamophobia in France. A ruling is expected 48 hours later.
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