Anti-burqa protesters try to enter Australian parliament wearing Ku Klux Klan outfit, a motorcycle helmet and niqab

Three men have attempted to enter the Australian parliament while covering their faces, in protest at the burqa

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Three protesters have attempted to enter the Australian parliament wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood, a motorcycle helmet and a niqab, in a protest against the burqa.

The three men, Sergio Redegalli, Nick Folkes and Victor Waterson, were all forced to remove their face coverings by parliamentary authorities, just inside the front entrance.

Part of a self-styled protest group called “Faceless”, the men say that the burqa should be banned in public places because it is against "women's rights".

The protest comes after officials abandoned a ban that segregated women wearing burqas or niqabs in the visitors’ gallery of the parliament building. Now those wearing a facial covering must temporarily remove it for identification purposes.

A security guard told the demonstrators that the Ku Klux Klan hood and helmet must be removed, while the identity of the individual wearing the burqa would be checked.

Mr Redegalli then removed his white hood to reveal a niqab, but was still not allowed into the building with his face covered.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, he said: “Because we're males there's a bit of sexism there. It seems you're allowed to wear a full face covering into parliament if you're a Muslim woman but no other group is allowed to have that same privilege."

Australia’s Department of Parliamentary Services issued a statement that said the men’s costumes were deemed to be “protest paraphernalia” and as protests are not allowed inside the parliament building or forecourt they had to be removed.

It has been a longstanding policy that motorcycle helmets cannot be worn on the parliamentary estate.

This is not the first of the group's protests. In 2011 Mr Redegalli, an artist, painted a large mural against the burqa in Sydney, which was backed by a Liberal party senator, Cory Bernadi.

Despite one of their number wearing the Ku Klux Klan’s hood, "Faceless" claimed that they were not supporters of the racist movement.