An attack on a woman in France has sparked outrage on social media and bikini-clad rallies across the country.
The young victim, Angelique Sloss, was surrounded by five women and attacked while sunbathing with friends in the Parc Léo Lagrange in the northern city of Reims on Wednesday. Reports say it was because she was wearing her bikini in a public place.
The attackers have not yet been identified, however multiple news outlets are pointing the finger at a ‘gang of Muslim women’ from a specific housing estate in the region.
Yesterday, in response to the attack, protesters braved the cold winds and rain to wear bikinis and swimsuits in the same park in a rally that had social media buzzing.
Hundreds of people across France took part in the campaign that swept across Twitter in the same fashion as the recent JeSuisCharlie campaign following January’s tragic Charlie Hebdo shootings.
Anti-racist campaign group SOS Racisme urged women to post images of themselves wearing bikinis and/or bathing costumes in public places across France using the hashtag #jeportemonmaillotauparc (I wear my swimsuit in the park).
And it had quite the effect…
The attackers, reportedly aged between 16 and 24, were arrested shortly after the attack with the three oldest being remanded to appear in court in September. The other two girls involved face further questioning. Authorities have not yet identified them.
The story goes that the unnamed 21-year-old victim was sunbathing with two friends when she was verbally abused for ‘immorally exposing so much flesh’ in a public place, and when she retaliated, she was crowded around, slapped and then punched, police say. The attack was split up by passers-by.
Speaking on the incident, Reims mayor, Arnaud Robinet, said: “We have to be very careful not to jump to conclusions. All the same, I can understand why people have assumed that this attack had religious motives. If that turns out to be the case, it is a very serious incident.”
It’s a serious incident regardless, and we hope Angelique makes a speedy recovery.