A French-Algerian businessman is calling on women to flock to Cannes beach dressed in burkinis to mark the end of Cannes film festival on Friday (May 26).
The bikini became popular after Brigitte Bardot went to the beach in Cannes in a bikini in the 1950s, and now Rachid Nekkaz wants to use the same location to spread the message that women have the freedom to cover up.
Last year the city banned the burkini, claiming it was an affront to France’s secular values, as it is can be seen as linked to a religion. However this decision was overturned in late August, after it was found to violate fundamental liberties.
At the time, Nekkaz campaigned against the burkini ban and even offered to pay fines imposed on women who wore the clothing, according to The Local.
He is now calling on women to spend two hours partying on the Cannes beach wearing a burkini, as he believes despite the ban being overturned, the garment is still an important issue in the country.
Nekkaz will also walk with 12 women dressed in burkinis matching the colour of the French flag down the Croisette promenade and then to the beach.
He told The Local: “The Cannes Film Festival is all about liberty and tolerance. It‘s the perfect place to celebrate this ‘newfound freedom' in the city that was the first to ban the burkini.”
The businessman also previously campaigned against banning Islamic full-face veils in 2010 and reports claim he paid around €250,000 (£216,000) to women to pay for fines for wearing the covering.
Nekkaz describes himself as a secular Muslim and whlist he admits he does not like the veils, he believes banning them is an infringement of people' s civil liberties.