Later, however, witnesses contradicted that burkinis provoked the fighting [in Sisco]; they said the quarrel arose because a group of bathers had claimed a piece of beach for themselves.
Burkini-Wearing Woman Gets Chased Off French Beach. Villeneuve-Loubet’s burkini ban has been overturned. But that didn’t stop beachgoers from threatening 23-year-old Zeynab Alshelh, 09/19/2016 09:48 am ET: here.
Burkini ban is illegal, Belgian court says. A Dutch swimming pool stopped a Syrian refugee girl in burkini once, but admitted her next time: here.
Sarkozy launches French presidential bid based on anti-Muslim hysteria: here.
In a fundamental attack on freedom of religion, a French Muslim woman was detained and fined by police solely because she was wearing a Muslim headscarf. Siam, a former flight attendant from Toulouse who was vacationing with her family in Cannes, was on the beach when police received a call criticizing the “ostentatious” character of her headscarf: here. As for the French witchhunt against women’s clothes supposedly being ‘secularist’, a person defending the police action against that headscarf-wearing woman shouted: ‘Here we are all Catholics!’ (Would that person also have agreed if police had attacked a Roman Catholic nun wearing nun’s clothes?)
Conspiracy theorists blame the 1917 Russian revolution on ‘the Jews’; more specifically on the non-existent ‘Elders of Zion’. Though the real cause was the inequality and oppression under the Russian czarist absolute monarchy.
The campaign in Germany for domestic repression and war is assuming ever more openly racist forms. Last Friday, the federal and state interior ministers of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) spoke out in favour of a partial ban on the burqa and niqab during their so-called “Berlin Declaration.” Since then, politicians and the media have intensified their agitation against Muslim citizens and refugees: here.
Perhaps the happiest tale of the day was that of swimmer Yusra Mardini who is representing the Refugee team under the Olympic flag and won her 100m butterfly heat to huge cheers in the pool at the Aquatics Stadium in Rio.
Her time wasn’t enough to win her a place in the semi-finals but it won the hearts of the spectators and is the latest chapter in an incredible story. Mardini, 18, and her sister fled war-torn Syria a year ago and travelled through Lebanon and Turkey before trying to reach Greece by a boat fit for six but carrying 20 people.
The motor failed and Mardini jumped in and swam for three and a half hours, pulling the boat and stopping it from capsizing before reaching land on the island of Lesbos where she could barely stand. She was given asylum in Berlin where her swimming talents were spotted and that led to Rio and Saturday’s sterling effort. She goes again on Wednesday in the freestyle heats.
MEET TEAM REFUGEES “Team Refugees, the Olympic Games’ first ever team of refugee athletes, received a standing ovation on Friday night when they entered the stadium during the games’ opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ” [HuffPost]
Yet the opening days of the Summer Olympic Games indicated that the authorities have zero tolerance for even minimal forms of protest (people holding signs protesting current “interim president” Michel Temer have been expelled from stadiums) and have brought back memories for many of the methods employed during the 21 years of dictatorship (1964-1985), when democratic rights were under constant attack and bloody police repression was an everyday affair. Democratic rights, in Brazil and elsewhere, are fast becoming “a dead letter”: here.
This 6 June 2015 video is about police violence against swimming children in McKinney, Texas.
We reflected on race and spatial exclusion, racist policing in the United States, the role of gender, the policing of juveniles, and South Africa’s own history of segregated pools and beaches. Since the video was first released, Police Corporal Eric Casebolt was suspended and then he subsequently resigned from the department. Whether criminal charges will be filed against him remains to be seen. The Black Lives Matter movement has come to McKinney. The protests have started. A spotlight shines on McKinney and offers insights into the way that race plays out in America. The conversations will continue.
This blog has been written by Beena Ahmad, WJP visiting researcher from the United States. …
In an interview with National Public Radio, Jeff Wiltse, a University of Montana history professor, discussed the racialized history of swimming pools in America. Community pools first proliferated on the eve of segregation, and they were built in working class neighbourhoods as well as more affluent ones. They were noticeably less available in areas that were predominantly African American. During Jim Crow, segregation was enforced by laws, as well as through violence perpetrated by whites against blacks with police acquiescence, even in the absence of an official policy of segregation.
“Wade-ins” were held in a number of communities to protest segregated beaches and swimming pools. In one famous account captured on photograph, a Florida motel owner poured acid into a pool to force black bathers out of the pool. Some credit this story with playing a role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act. According to Wiltse, by the time of desegregation, pool construction had become cheaper. Whites stopped using municipal pools and started building pools in private communities or in their backyards. Many municipalities have since closed public pools, and there is a racial disparity as to who has access to swimming pools in America today.
Austrian municipalities impose ban on refugees using swimming pools
2 February 2016
The Austrian towns of Korneuburg and Mödling have imposed a ban on refugees using their public swimming pools. Refugees are allowed to use these facilities only if accompanied by an “escort.”
In Mödling, Councilor Robert Mayer of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) announced the measure by issuing instructions to the town’s employees. He had an order posted on notice boards stipulating the ban on unaccompanied people “with immigrant backgrounds.”
He justified the measure by saying that young refugees from two nearby facilities had jumped into the pool in underwear or sweatpants. …
The situation is similar in Korneuburg. Because bathers allegedly felt harassed and molested, a general ban on refugees was imposed. …
The web portal Vienna.at cited police officials who claimed that eight Afghan asylum-seekers had misbehaved, making noise and jumping from the edge of the pool, which is forbidden. It was also claimed that a man had gotten lost and wandered into the women’s changing room. The police acknowledged that there had been no criminal assaults and no charges had been filed.
On the basis of these flimsy pretexts, the city imposed a blanket ban on refugees and hired a security service to enforce it.
On social media, thousands have reacted angrily to the ban and the right-wing officials who imposed it. Many have drawn parallels to the methods employed by the Nazis against the Jews. However, ÖVP Mayor Christian Gepp has defended the racist measures.
The same week in which the bans were imposed, the Austrian government closed the country’s borders to refugees. At a refugee summit, leaders of the governing parties—the Austrian Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) and the Austrian Peoples Party (ÖVP)—agreed to introduce a ceiling for refugees. As Chancellor Werner Faymann (SPÖ) told the press, Austria will take in only 37,500 asylum-seekers in this year. This number, added to the 90,000 refugees who have remained in the country in the past year, brings the total to the limit of 1.5 percent of the population set by the government.
The ruling parties are now following the line of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ). The Greens, who are closely linked with the government parties at the provincial and district level, are joining in the witch-hunting of refugees.
Green Party politician Efgani Dönmez, who until last year was a member of the Federal Council, the upper chamber of parliament, appeared Friday as a guest speaker at an FPÖ event in Linz. …
Burgenland, where the Social Democrats are in an alliance with the far-right FPÖ in the state government, has announced that it intends to set up neighbourhood watch groups in its municipalities. According to the state premier Hans Niessl (SPÖ), “security partners” will carry out a broad range of tasks. The details of the powers they will have are currently being negotiated, but they will definitely include the power to check identity cards. Even arming the civil militia is under discussion.
The deputy state premier Johann Tschürtz (FPÖ) announced that the project would initially be introduced in nine municipalities. The municipalities selected include Schattendorf, where, on January 30, 1927, members of the fascist Veterans Association shot into a Social Democratic meeting, killing a worker and a six-year-old child.
Tschürtz explained that the makeup of the “security partners” remained unclear, but might involve private security companies. It is likely that the FPÖ will use its close ties to the neo-Nazi scene to recruit thugs from this milieu for the neighbourhood watch groups. Last year, FPÖ politician Ralph Schäfer tried to establish a neighbourhood watch group in the city of Wels that included right-wing extremists known to the police.
The links between the FPÖ and the extreme right are well documented. In his book Strache: The Brown Swamp, author Hans-Henning Scharsach details “many, many points of contact with the neo-Nazi scene.” Heinz-Christian Strache is the leader of the FPÖ.
The asylum seeker who was suspected of sexually assaulting a girl in the swimming pool of Koksijde is probably innocent. According to the public prosecutor of Furnes, the Iraqi man in this twenties this Saturday afternoon already was released after questioning. The aldermen in Koksijde have decided that there will be no swimming ban for asylum seekers.
That the young man was not brought before the investigating judge shows hat the prosecutor does not think this is a case of serious crime, such as an assault.
According to sources close to the dossier everything points to “an error in judgment.” The 22-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker, according to witnesses was trying to save a girl who panicked in the whitewater of the pool complex. The supervisor then called the police, after which the refugee was taken in for questioning. The 10-year-old girl (and her parents) have not complained. …
After the incident the mayor of Koksijde, Marc Vanden Bussche (Open VLD) [right wing pro Big Business party], decided to introduce a ban for asylum seekers in the pool. That was immediately criticized strongly.