2 Arrested Under France's Burka Ban

Meanwhile, some women stay home
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Apr 11, 2011 3:54 AM CDT
Updated Apr 11, 2011 8:35 AM CDT
France's Kenza Drider wearing a niqab , leaves a shop in Avignon, southern France, Monday, Sept. 13, 2010.   (AP Photo / Claude Paris)

(Newser) – Hours after France enacted its new burka ban today, two women wearing the full face veils were arrested. Several others who were protesting the new law in front of Paris's Notre Dame cathedral were also arrested after police attempted to break up the unauthorized protest, the Telegraph reports. Women face a $200 fine for "concealing the face in a public space," while men who force women to cover their faces are in for a $43,000 fine, reports ABC News.

Critics say the law is anti-Muslim. But French President Nicolas Sarkozy last year called the burka a "sign of enslavement." Some 61 protesters were arrested over the weekend at a Paris rally against the new law. Only 1,900 of the 2 million Muslim women in France are believed to wear the face-covering niqab, and very few wear the head-to-toe burka, even though the new law is generally known as the "burka ban." Some Muslim women told reporters they'll now be at stuck at home, while others vowed to defy the law, the first of its kind in Europe. (Read more niqab stories.)

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