Police check of veiled woman sparks clashes in Paris suburb


Confrontations between police and local residents of the Paris suburb Argenteuil Wednesday after police stopped a woman wearing a full veil.


Frank Perry

A police check of a veiled woman on Wednesday descended into a confrontation between police officers and residents of a Paris suburb.

The uproar started when police stopped a 25-year-old woman wearing a full facial veil, which is banned in France.

The woman complied with police, but another man approached saying that their actions were abusive. The outraged man drew a crowd of dozens of people from the Argenteuil neighborhood, home to a large Muslim population.

Members of the crowd confronted the police officers, insulting them and attacking them, according to police sources.

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Forty officers arrived on the scene, dispersing the angry crowd with tear gas and flash bombs. Two men were arrested at the scene, one of whom is thought to be the woman's cousin.

The deputy mayor of Argenteuil, Phillipe Doucet, called the confrontations "worrying events."

France passed a law in October 2010 that made it illegal to cover one's face in public. Violations of the law carry a fine of around $190 or mandatory citizenship training.

It is believed about 300 women were fined during the first year the law was in place.