Five injured and six detained in Paris protests over French ban on face veils


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The Independent Online

Five people were injured and six arrested during a protest over enforcement of France's ban on Islamic face veils.

Approximately 250 people threw missiles during clashes with police, who responded by firing tear gas in the town of Trappes on Friday evening.

A 14-year-old boy sustained a serious eye injury from a missile during the violence. Four police officers were injured and six people were detained, according to an official with the regional police administration.

The violence came after a gathering of about 200-250 people to protest the arrest of a man on Thursday whose wife was ticketed for wearing a face veil. The husband tried to strangle an officer who was doing the ticketing, prosecutor Vincent Lesclous said.

Order was believed to have been restored by 3am as the crowd began to disperse.

France has barred face veils since 2011. Supporters of the ban argue the veil oppresses women and contradicts France's principles of secularism, which are enshrined in the constitution.

In addition to small fines or citizenship classes for women wearing veils, the law includes a hefty 30,000 euro (£25,000) fine for anyone who forces a woman to wear one.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls called for calm in the aftermath of the demonstrations and pledged to stand against "all those who attack Muslim buildings or our compatriots of Muslim faith".

But he also criticised those who attacked police.

"There is no valid reason for the violence seen in Trappes," he told reporters in the southern city of Marseille, which has seen a wave of urban unrest. "The law should be applied, and applies to everyone."

Additional reporting by agencies