Violence Spreads over Face Veil Ban in France

July 22, 2013  

At least 20 cars were torched and four people arrested in a second night of rioting after French police enforced a law banning the wearing of a full face veil in public places.

The violence, which began in the town of Trappes, some 50 miles north of Paris, had spread within a day to the suburb of Elancourt.

On Friday night, police faced a mob of 250 rioting people hurling objects after a woman received a ticket on Thursday for wearing a full-face veil in a public venue. Her husband reportedly tried to strangle the officer who wrote out the summons. 

The veiled woman in question later contacted the Collective Against Islamophobia in France, claiming the officer in question had yanked her veil, and pushed her mother, who was with her at the time.

Six rioters were arrested that night. Five others were injured in the violence, including four police officers and a 14-year-old boy who suffered a serious injury to his eye.

Trash dumpsters were torched and a bus shelter was shattered by the rioters. Police used tear gas to break up the mob.

On Sunday, incidents the night before targeted the Paris suburb of Elancourt, CBS News reported, quoting BFM television. 

A gang of some 50 attackers hurled a gasoline firebomb at police, and some fired weapons, a police union official said.

Anyone who forces a woman to wear a veil is subject to a $39,370 fine by law. A woman who violates the law by wearing the veil is subject to citizenship classes and/or small fines.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls called for calm after the violence at Trappes, and pledged at a Muslim Iftar dinner breaking the daily Ramadan fast to stand against “all those who attack Muslim buildings or our compatriots of Muslim faith.”

But speaking to reporters later in Marseille, he was equally firm about the need for peace, and said bluntly, “There is no valid reason for the violence seen in Trappes. The law should be applied, and applies to everyone.”

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