A court this week heard the first case against women for wearing the niqab – or Islamic face veil – since a ban came into force in April. One of the defendants was banned from entering the courthouse because she was still wearing the niqab.
The two women on trial were stopped in the street on 5 May near the town hall of Meaux, east of Paris. The mayor, Jean-François Copé, is an architect of the ban and head of Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling rightwing UMP party.
The women were wearing their niqabs during a demonstration against the law. They were supported by the Don’t Touch My Constitution group, which has led protests against the ban.