A savage attack on a woman who was beaten while sunbathing in a park because she was wearing a bikini has caused outrage. The 21-year-old victim, who has been named as Angelique Slosse, was beaten up by a gang of women when she was sunbathing with two friends.
It had been claimed the attack in Reims, eastern France, was motivated by the disgust at the ‘immoral’ outfit offending the religious beliefs of the alleged attackers.
However, park authorities denied there was any moral or religious motivation behind the attack while police described it as a ‘banal story of a fight between young girls from rival gangs’.
Police said Miss Slosse got into an argument after another young woman from told her to put her clothes on. It was windy and overcast at the time, and a number of youngsters took sides in the dispute, and began fighting.
Julie Galisson, the local police superintendent, said: “It was a fight between young girls which degenerated after one of the authors of the aggression said: ‘Get dressed, it’s not summer’. One of those arrested would not leave her alone and this degenerated into violence,” Mrs Galisson said.
The police officer added: “As is clear from the statement of the victim and those implicated, there is no element of a religious or moral element which explains the aggression.”
The attack left Miss Slosse with severe bruising, and was unable to go to work the next day.
In response to the attack, thousands of girls shared pictures of them wearing bikinis in public places, to defend the victim’s right to wear what she chooses.
They used the hashtag #jeportemonmaillotauparcleo in a response that has been compared to the #JeSuisCharlie used after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo.
A handful of protesters even turned up at the park wearing bikinis on an equally cold day, saying they insisted on their ‘right to wear a bikini’.
The attack took place last Wednesday at the Leo-Lagrange park in Reims, which is the Champagne capital of France.
Three of those arrested were named as Ines Nouri, Zohra Karim and Hadoune Tadjouri, who are in their late teens and early 20s, while two others – aged 16 and 17 – cannot be named because they are minors.
All were bailed and are due in court in September to answer accusations of ‘violent conduct,’ said a police spokesman in Reims.