Burkini must be banned in France, says Nicolas Sarkozy as he launches presidential election campaign
Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president, called for a full burkini ban in France on Thursday night as he warned that immigrants, minorities and the Left were threatening to destroy French identity.
In the first big speech of his campaign to win back the office he lost in 2012, Mr Sarkozy stole many ideas of the far-Right Front National, promising to reclaim France “for the French”.
“I refuse to let the burkini impose itself at French beaches and swimming pools ... there must be a law to ban it throughout the Republic’s territory,” he said to thunderous applause during a speech in Provence, a stronghold of the Front National.
Mr Sarkozy went on to demand that all minorities and immigrants speak French and promised – for example – that he would never accept a France where men and women had separate timetables at public swimming baths.
“Where is the authority when it is the minorities who govern? Never before has so much been ceded to them,” said the 61-year-old who declared his candidacy on Monday.
“I will be the president that re-establishes the authority of the state,” he said, promising to protect the French and insisting it was not “fascist” to be concerned about security.
In a speech filled with conservative political red meat, Mr Sarkozy also promised to institute compulsory military service for “dropouts” who were not employed or in full-time education at the age of 18.