Lleida in the northeastern Catalonia region on Thursday became Spain's first city to introduce a ban on wearing the face-covering Islamic burqa in public places. These places include offices, sports centres, markets and other property owned by the city council. The niqab - which covers the face but leaves a small slit for the eyes - has also been banned.

"I feel proud of the fact that Lleida has become the first Spanish city to outlaw behaviour which discriminates against women," said the city's mayor, Angel Ros. "I hope it will be of educational value," he added.

The ban, which was approved by the council in May, is largely symbolic, as Muslims make up just 3 percent of Lleida's population, and there are only a handful of women living there who wear the burqa and the niqab.

Read the complete original version of this item...