France's controversial ban on public face cover, two years in the planning, went into effect on Monday. Any woman wearing the burka or niqab in public is now subject to a $216 fine, and/or may be forced to attend classes on French citizenship. It is estimated that about 2000 women out of about five million Muslims in France presently wear the veil.
Predictably there was pushback from disgruntled opposition. A made-for-media protester, Kenza Drider, age 34, of Moroccan provenance, wearing a distinctive, media-friendly cream and black niqab, travelled from Avignon to Paris to take part in a demonstration against the ban.
Ms Drider is not a typical niqab wearer in that she insists her practice is not about religious observance, but about her own freedom to do as she pleases – indeed, news reports say her husband was "shocked" when she decided to start wearing the niqab 13 years ago.