Dozens of protesters sported party hats, colanders and other unlikely headgear in protests Tuesday at schools in the Belgian city of Antwerp where authorities have banned girls from wearing the Muslim veil.

Around 60 people turned up for the start of the school year outside the gates of the Athenee Royal of Antwerp school, where most students are Muslims, carrying banners calling for "freedom of choice," television pictures showed.

Among the protesters several young girls wore long black or white veils, coloured scarves or party hats.

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