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Austria's ‘burka ban’ comes into force, prohibiting face veils in public places
A ban on full-face coverings, which includes Muslim veils such as those worn in burkas, comes into force in Austria today as anti-immigration parties look poised to win national elections later this month.
The new law states that faces must be visible from hairline to chin in public places and includes off-slope ski masks and surgical masks outside of hospitals.
Austrian police are allowed to use force to make people show their face and can impose fines of €150 (£132).
Muslim groups have condemned the law saying only tiny minority of women in the country wear full-face veils. Carla Amina Bhagajati of the Islamic Religious Community in Austria said the "handful" of fully veiled women she knows of in Vienna "now are criminalized" and "restricted to their homes".
However, there has been strong support for the law reflecting growing anti-immigrant sentiment in the predominantly Catholic country.
"It's not right that those living here don't show their faces," said Emma Schwaiger, who expressed support for the ban in a straw poll on the streets of Vienna.
On Sunday, a Muslim woman defying the rule was spotted being told to remove her veil in the town of Zell am See. Picture from the Mail on Sunday