12 Apr 2011

Two veiled women arrested in Paris

6:20 pm on 12 April 2011

Two veiled women have been arrested in Paris during a protest against France's new ban on wearing full-face veils in public.

They had joined a gathering in front of Notre Dame cathedral.

The BBC reports that pne of the women was Kenza Drider of Avignon, who arrived in Paris by train wearing a niqab.

Police say they were detained because the protest had not been authorised and not because they breached the ban.

The government says wearing a veil is oppressive for women, but opponents say the new law is an infringement of human rights.

France is the first country in Europe to publicly ban a form of dress some Muslims regard as a religious duty.

Offenders face a fine of 150 euros and a citizenship course. People forcing women to wear the veil face a much larger fine and a prison sentence of up to two years.