The administrative court of Grenoble suspended on Wednesday May 25 a provision of the new regulations of the municipal swimming pools of the city authorizing the wearing of the burkini, considering that it “(seriously undermines) the principle of public service neutrality”.
→ REREAD The municipality of Grenoble authorizes the burkini in swimming pools
This new regulation, which was to come into force on June 1, allows women who wish to do so to wear this covering outfit on the sole condition that it is in a specific fabric for swimming and that it sticks to the body. Article 10 of the text also authorizes topless bathing “for both women and men”.
On May 16, after two and a half hours of heated debate, the city council adopted the new regulations by a narrow majority. Thirteen members of the municipal majority had dissociated themselves from the environmental mayor Éric Piolle.
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Beyond the city, the initiative had created a national controversy, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin denouncing “an unacceptable community provocation”. In full launch of the campaign for the legislative elections, she had also created a stir within the left.
The environmentalist mayor justified this decision by his desire not to discriminate against certain women because of their religious beliefs and by the fact that in the city of Rennes, where this outfit has been authorized since 2018, no disturbance has been observed at the public order. In an interview with La Croix, Éric Piolle believed that the controversy “reflects a “zemmourisation of the political debate in France”.
Implementation of the separatism law
On the merits the mayor put forward the argument that the swimming pool belongs to the public space where the principle of neutrality does not apply. “A swimming pool is like the street, you can express your religious convictions there, you can dress as you want. »
At the request of the Ministry of the Interior, the prefect of Isère had seized the administrative court of a secularism summary. This is the first time that this new procedure introduced by the law of August 24 has been used. confirming respect for the principles of the republic – known as the separatism law. It is precisely a question of allowing the State to initiate appeals against the decisions of elected officials who contravene certain principles such as the neutrality of public services or the non-public financing of worship.
To justify the request, the prefect pointed out that the“manifest objective is to give in to communitarian demands with religious aims”.
The Grenoble municipal opposition, which also filed an appeal before the same court, indicated for its part that it intended “in the event of rejection of the request (…) develop all the other means of law which justify the suspension and the cancellation of this decision”.
A sensitive information file
A procedure is also initiated against the association Citizen Alliance which is at the origin of the pro burkini mobilization in Grenoble. According to information published in the press, the organization would have held and would still hold files containing nominative information on the state of health, ethnic origin or political opinion of the inhabitants of the neighborhoods where Alliance citoyenne goes door to door. door. The existence and possession of such information “are subject to a legal regime that protects individual freedoms and is subject to CNIL control” specified a press release from the prefecture of Isère.
On the basis of this information, the prefect seized the prosecutor of the Republic of the judicial court of Grenoble “in order to determine the legal follow-up to be given to this case. » The Grenoble prosecutor announced on May 17 that he had opened an investigation