COPENHAGENL: Thousands of people marched against a controversial ban in Denmark on the wearing of face veils in public that came into force.
Demonstrations were held in the capital city of Copenhagen and the second largest city of Aarhus against the ban, which was approved on May 31.
The protests organized by Kvinder I Dialog (Women in Dialogue), a group founded by left-wing activists and women wearing the veil — were supported by Muslim migrants and citizens of Denmark.
Demonstrators, who gathered in the Nørrebro district of the capital city, covered their faces with veils and masks in support of women being targeted by the ban.
The crowd marched towards the Bellahøj police station and called on police to focus on more important problems rather than fining people who wear veils.
Sabina Youssef, one of the demonstrators, told Anadolu Agency that she would continue to wear her veil despite the ban.
“This law that came into effect includes discrimination. Its aim is to isolate a small religious group from the society,” Youssef said, adding that only 50 women wore veils in Denmark.
Violators will be punished with a fine of up to 1,000 kroner ($156). Repeat offenders could be fined up to 10,000 kroner ($1,563).
The law was approved in the Danish parliament in a 75-30 vote with 74 absentees.
Rachid Nekkaz, a French business executive of Algerian origin, has launched a fund against the burqa ban, which he called “illegal”, and has paid over 500 fines of women who defied similar bans in six countries.
Nekkaz also announced that he would pay the fines in Denmark.
According to a 2010 study by the University of Copenhagen, only 150-200 women wear the Islamic face veil in Denmark and only three women wear the burqa.
It is estimated that Muslims account for about 7 percent of Denmark’s population of 5.6 million.