A 28-year-old woman has become the first person to be charged in Denmark for refusing to remove a niqab.
She had got into a fight with another woman, who had allegedly tried to rip off her veil in a shopping centre in Horsholm, which is around 15 miles north of Copenhagen.
Police arrived on the scene and reviewed CCTV footage of what happened, before telling the woman that she would be fined 1,000 kroner (£119.37) in the post. They also told her to either remove her veil or leave the public area, but she decided to keep her headwear on.
Police officer David Borchersenexplained: “During the fight her niqab came off, but by the time we arrived she had put it back on again.”
The legislation came into effect on 1 August. Under the new law, police will be allowed to order people to remove face veils in public areas. If they do not comply with police orders, they will be handed a fine and sent home.
Along with the niqab and the burqa, the ban applies to balaclavas, masks, false beards and other accessories.
The ban has been met with a great deal of criticism, with Fotis Filippou, Europe director of human rights group Amnesty International, saying: “If the intention of this law was to protect women’s rights, it fails abjectly.
“Instead the law criminalises women for their choice of clothing, making a mockery of the freedoms Denmark purports to uphold.”
Recently people of all ages also took to the streets in Copenhagen in protest of the controversial ban, wearing face veils including the niqab and full-length burqa.
The were peaceful, and Danish police have said that none of the veiled protesters would be penalised because certain use of the veils, in this case to exercise freedom of speech, remain exempt from the law.
A spokesperson for group Kvinder I Dialog (Women In Dialogue) told the Independent: “The purpose of this demonstration is to show that we do not accept this kind of unjust treatment regardless of who we are dealing with.”
Denmark is the latest European country to ban such items of clothing, joining several other nations including France, Belgium and Germany. Other countries have also debated the issue.
Featured Image Credit: PA