Algerian women in their thousands are defying conservative Islamists by wearing bikinis

Pressure grows for females to wear burkinis

Harriet Agerholm
Monday 07 August 2017 12:23
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Women launch counter campaign after men posted photographs of women in bikinis online, saying they contradicted Algerian values
Women launch counter campaign after men posted photographs of women in bikinis online, saying they contradicted Algerian values

Thousands of women in Algeria have defied hard-line Islamists by wearing bikinis to the beach.

Women in the coastal town of Annaba organised protests after an online campaign in which men posted photographs of women in two-piece swimming costumes and claimed they contradicted Algerian values.

Bikinis are not banned in the country, but women are increasingly pressured to dress modestly at the beach. A growing number of women wear burkinis — a swimsuit that covers the whole body except the face, hands and feet.

A closed Facebook group pushing back against the conservative drive has attracted more than 3,200 members.

Sara, 27, who founded the group, was motivated to take action after going to a beach with her family to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

She told regional daily Le Provincial she was too scared to put on her swimming costume after she realised she would be the only woman exposing her bare limbs and abdomen.

Warda, a member of the group, told French broadcaster France Info: "The Islamists did not come to power, but society became Islamised.

"For the past two or three years, going to the beach is harder. We can sometimes find ourselves alone in a bikini, when we have always been in the majority."

Posts on social media featured photographs of women in bikinis alongside messages such as "Where are your fathers?" and "Put your clothes on."

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