RIOT police were called and a man was injured by a harpoon when a mass brawl broke out on a beach in Corsica, apparently started by a tourist taking a photo of women in "burkinis".
The incident came after the mayor of Cannes banned women from wearing the full-body, head-covering swimsuits on the beaches of the town.
The riot took place on Saturday in a cove near the village of Sisco in the north of the French Mediterranean island. "It happened because a tourist was taking photos," said Ange-Pierre Vivoni, the local mayor. "And the Maghrebins [North Africans] didn't want to have their photos taken."
Things got out of hand when young men of North African origin harangued the tourist who took the pictures, prompting local young people to intervene in defence of the visitor.
Police are still trying to establish how the incident turned into a riot, but local media said that a group of older North African men soon arrived, some armed with hatchets and harpoons, and took on the young Corsicans.
The unrest lasted for several hours. Three cars were burnt and four people had to be taken to hospital, one of them for a wound caused by a harpoon.
Tensions were high yesterday, when around 500 people gathered in the nearby town of Bastia and tried to enter a housing estate with a high immigrant population. Riot police held back the crowd, which eventually dispersed.