First arrests made hours after French Burka ban comes into force

Two Muslim women wearing full face veils have been arrested within hours of France’s burka ban becoming a law, as they were taking part in a demonstration against the new measure in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris, the Telegraph reports:

Technically, the women should now face fines of 150 euros (£133), as well as citizenship lessons, but officers involved in the arrest said they were likely to be released “shortly’ after being questioned about an “illegal gathering.”

“They should not be here demonstrating against anything, least of all the face veil ban,” said one officer, who was wearing full riot gear as he stood outside Notre Dame. […]

Alexis Marsan, a public order official who also attended the scene, confirmed that the rally in front of the cathedral was unauthorised, and that others taking part had also been arrested.

Rachid Nekkaz, a Muslim activist who organised the demonstration, said the rally had been called to protest the ban, which is the first of its kind to be enforced in Europe.

Also preparing to take part was Kenza Drider, a 32-year-old convert to Islam, who said she would be prepared to contest the legislation at the European Court of Human Rights. […]

Police admitted they were enforcing the ban extremely cautiously because of fears of provoking violence.

Al Jazeera reports:

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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday April 11, 2011.
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