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Muslim protesters clash with police in Paris suburb after woman is fined for wearing Islamic veil in defiance of ban
- Two days of rioting in Trappes, near Paris, after police stopped woman
- Wearing of full Islamic veils has been banned in France since 2011
By Peter Allen
PUBLISHED: 06:22 EST, 21 July 2013 | UPDATED: 06:47 EST, 21 July 2013
Muslim protestors have clashed with riot police in a Paris suburb after attempts were made to fine a woman for wearing a full Islamic veil.
Community leaders in Trappes, a commuter town to the west of the French capital, joined politicians in calling for calm following two nights of disturbances.
They have seen hundreds of people surrounding the police headquarters in the area and bombarding officers with stones while also starting fires and vandalising property.
Manuel Valls, France’s Interior Minister, today ordered hundreds more police into the area, saying: ‘Given the incidents which marred the night, and during which four people were arrested and twenty vehicles burnt out or damaged in the Elancourt district, a security plan will be maintained until calm returns permanently.’
French policemen from the anti-crime unit (BAC) patrol the streets in Trappes, a suburb of Paris, after two nights of violent clashes
Violent clashes erupted between citizens and French police late on July 18 and have continued for two nights
He added: ‘The mobilisation of the forces of order whose presence in large numbers and their vigilance prevented further serious trouble last night in Trappes.’
A 14-year-old boy suffered a serious eye injury in the violence, while four police were hurt on Saturday, said local prosecutor Vincent Lesclous.
A police source in Trappes said: ‘The disturbances are related to the arrest of a man who objected to his wife being controlled for wearing a veil .
‘He attacked officers and was then arrested. It is this which led to the protests outside the police headquarters in Trappes.’
On both Friday and Saturday night, heavily armed CRS riot police could be seen taking part in running skirmishes with youths, while there were reports of flash ball guns being used to disperse the crowd.
The violence is the latest in a string of incidents related to the controversial burka ban which was introduced across France in 2011.
It means that women found guilty of wearing veils in public can be fined the equivalent of £130 and be forced to attend citizenship classes.
Last month police were attacked on an estate in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil after arresting two men who also objected to a woman being stopped for wearing a veil.
Some 40 riot police had to be called to the area to restore order, with tear gas and flash ball guns being used.
The rioting started after after police officers carried out an identity check on a full-veiled woman and her husband
Riot police have used tear gas and flash ball guns to quell the violence
A 21-year-old pregnant woman was also attacked by suspected vigilantes for covering her face with a veil on the same council estate.
In March, a Frenchman who ripped a Muslim woman's veil off her eyes was given a five-month suspended prison sentence.
The 30-year-old said he was merely trying to 'enforce' his country's laws when he carried out the attack in the city of Nantes.
The man later told a court he was a firm believer in the law brought in by government of former right-wing president Nicolas Sarkozy.
But the judge said that he had acted like a 'vigilante' and carried out the attack solely because he was prejudiced against the women's faith.
Mr Sarkozy had described Muslim face coverings as an affront to the principles of the French Republic, saying that they could be used by both shoplifters and terrorists to hide their identities.
Amnesty International is among human rights groups who have condemned the law, saying it breaches the right of freedom of expression.
Today police helicopters could be seen circling over Trappes, the home town of former Chelsea and France footballer Nicolas Anelka, as armoured vans surrounded the police HQ.
Officers fear that high summer temperature may encourage crowds to gather over the weekend so as to once more target the police.