Clashes in France Over Enforcing Veil Ban

July 21, 2013  

At least five people were injured, including four police officers, when a mob rioted in a Paris suburb over enforcement of the ban on full-face veils in France.

Six were detained in the violence that struck the small town in Trappes Friday night, as 250 rioters hurled rocks at police, about 17 miles west of Paris. 

A bus shelter was shattered and a number of trash bins were torched, setting flames rising to the sky. A 14-year-old boy was hit in the eye by one of the flying objects in the melee, and suffered a serious injury as a result.

Officers responded with crowd control measures that included the use of tear gas.

The violence was ignited following a protest over the arrest of a man whose wife had received a ticket on Thursday for wearing a full-face veil, in violation of French law.

In response, her husband attempted to strangle the officer who was issuing the ticket, a prosecutor told reporters.

Such tickets carry small fines or citizenship classes for the women who wear the veils, banned since 2011. In addition, the law carries a 30,000 euro fine for anyone (husband or Islamic cleric) or who forces a woman to wear one. 

In addition to the ban on veils, France also bars head scarves in schools and public buildings, which affects observant Jewish women as well, many of whom also cover their hair with scarves.

Local town official Erard Cordin de Mangoux told Sky News, “The police forces will remain in position for as long as necessary, not as provocation but for reasons of security, to give the 30,000 Trappes residents a sense of security and serenity,” he said. 

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