Denmark burqa ban comes into force, protesters to rally wearing proscribed clothing items
With the burqa ban kicking off in Denmark, protests have been planned where women activists will appear wearing the proscribed clothing items
Protests have been planned in Denmark's capital Copenhagen on Wednesday against a law that bans items of clothing that covers the face, including burqas and niqabs. The ban which was approved by parliament in May came into effect on Wednesday, making Denmark the latest European country to implement the ban. However, not many are happy with the law, which many say targets the Muslim community and restricts women when it comes to making sartorial choices.
According to the new law, people who do not follow the new rule will be fined over £100 for the first offence – with the figure rising to £1,200 for repeat offenders. While there were a few who applauded the ban, several expressed their disappointment over the same. Marcus Knuth, a Danish MP for the ruling liberal party Venstre, stated that the dress worn by some conservative Muslim women was “strongly oppressive”.
However, Sasha Andersen, of the Party Rebels activist group is planning for a protest later in the day against the law as she believes this new rule is a “discriminatory” measure against a minority group.
As reported by Independent, protest against the new rule is set to take place in the Scandinavian country’s capital Copenhagen and the city of Aarhus. Many women are expected to wear the burqa in protest.
Police have said protesters who planned to fully cover their faces at the demonstrations would not be at risk of being issued with a fine. However, Benny Ochkenholt of the Danish national police said that a fine could be imposed on people who wear a burqa to and fro from the protest.
Meanwhile, groups who are in favor of "burqa ban" are also expected to be present. Amnesty International said the law is “neither necessary nor proportionate”. Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s deputy Europe director, believes that a woman should be given the right of choosing what she wants to wear and the ban is only going to have a negative impact.
"All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs. This ban will have a particularly negative impact on Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa," he said.
He further added, "Whilst some specific restrictions on the wearing of full-face veils for the purposes of public safety may be legitimate, this blanket ban is neither necessary nor proportionate and violates women’s rights to freedom of expression and religion." Fotis believes that by putting this law into practice, the agenda that the country had in mind fails. "If the intention of this law was to protect women’s rights it fails abjectly. Instead, the law criminalizes women for their choice of clothing – making a mockery of the freedoms Denmark purports to uphold," he said.
The face covering ban has certain exemptions as it is noted that the law permits people to cover their face when there is a “recognizable purpose”. This includes bicycle and motorbike helmets and clothing which offers insulation from cold weather. The law does not include turbans, headscarves or Jewish skull caps.