Geneva authorities on Tuesday voted in favour of a new rule defining the attire people may use to swim in the city's pools after a long-running argument.
Under the new definition, swimmers must wear a one-piece or two-piece swimsuit which comes down no lower than knee level, keeps arms bare and is not a “swim skirt or dress”, reported La Tribune de Genève
The definition effectively bans swimmers from wearing a burkini or bathing topless, which had both been allowed under a previous rule that only came into effect in September.
Back then, city councillors wanted to better define the clothing swimmers may wear in public pools after problems with young people trying to swim in ‘street wear', which raised questions of hygiene.
As a result, pools specified that swimmers were authorized to wear “any clothing that is specifically used for swimming”.
At the time Geneva's sports minister told La Tribune de Genève
that hygiene was the main concern and burkinis were really not an issue, since there had only ever been one case of someone wearing a burkini in a city pool.
But the definition inflamed the political right and since then the debate has increasingly centred around the burkini, said the paper.
On Tuesday city authorities voted by 41 to 30 in favour of a new definition for swimwear that effectively outlawed the burkini and topless bathing.
The move was condemned by many, including Christian Democrat Alia Chaker Mangeat who said it would “create a new controversy,” and could fuel the argument of extremists.
Socialist councillor Sami Kanaan deplored the new ruling, saying it constituted the “denial of an open, multicultural and liberal Geneva”.