‘We have to remind people they are French first and Muslim second’

The first mayor to impose France’s burkini ban insists he only made the ruling to keep the peace and is determined to extend the order despite the international controversy.

Henri Leroy, mayor of Mandelieu-La Napoule, told the MailOnline he believes it to be crucial to the country’s future as a republic.

The original ban was supposed to end next week, on August 31, but will now run until the end of September.

The move came as former French President Nicholas Sarkozy waded into the debate, describing wearing a burkini as a ‘provocative and militant’ act.