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Denmark Bans Burqas, Niqabs In Public

Veiled women take part in a rally of supporters of the Salafist movement in Pforzheim, Germany, in 2014.

Denmark has become the latest European country to ban people from wearing clothes that cover the face in public.

The Danish parliament in Copenhagen voted 75-30 on May 31 in favor of the ban, which effectively restricts people from wearing the burqas and niqabs worn by some Muslim women.

Violators of the ban, which goes into effect on August 1, will be fined 1,000 Danish crowns ($160) the first three times they violate the ban. The fourth violation will result in a penalty of 10,000 Danish crowns ($1,600).

Danish Justice Minister Pape Poulsen said when the bill was first unveiled in February that it is "incompatible with the values of the Danish society or the respect for the community to keep the face hidden when meeting each other in the public space."

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International said in a statement the new law was "a discriminatory violation of women's rights. All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs."

Belgium, Bulgaria, France, the Netherlands, and the southern German region of Bavaria have imposed some restrictions in recent years on the wearing in public places of clothes that cover the face.

Based on reporting by Reuters, dpa, and The Guardian