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Clashes erupt in France over veil ban

Some 20 cars were set ablaze overnight and four people detained in a second night of violence in Paris suburb.

Last Modified: 21 Jul 2013 17:25
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About 20 cars were torched and at least four people detained in a second night of violence that started in the suburbs west of Paris in an apparent protest against the enforcement of the country's ban on full-face veils.

France's Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on Sunday that the incidents overnight targeted the town of Elancourt and that a police presence would be maintained until calm was restored.

A police union official said that there were about 50 assailants involved, some of whom torched vehicles.

On Friday night, about 250 people clashed with police in the nearby town of Trappes, where the original incident had taken place the day before.

A women, who identifies herself only as Hajar, was stopped by police for wearing a full veil.

Hajar says she was complying with the identity check when she saw a police officer pushing her mother.

Burqa ban

Hajar told the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) that her husband asked the police to stop and was detained.

Once we arrived at the police station, people called me “a ghost”  [because of the full-veil]. I kept asking God for help against this violence

  Hajar

"I was about to lift my veil when I saw police agents violently pushing my mother," she said in a statement to the CCIF.

"One of the agents got suddenly very angry against my husband just because he said  'Don’t touch her. She has nothing to do with this.'

"Once we arrived at the police station, people called me “a ghost” [because of the full-veil]. I kept asking God for help against this violence."

Police involved said the husband assaulted an officer and was arrested and later released pending charges.

The riots raise questions about the ban on full-face veils, which was imposed by the previous government in 2011.

A boy sustained a serious eye injury and several police officers have been hurt during the clashes.

The current government of Francois Holland abstained during the initial vote, and is now under pressure to make a decision about the future of the ban.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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