Amnesty International has condemned the detention of several people, including two women wearing the full-face veil, who were protesting against the French law banning the wearing of any form of clothing concealing one's face in public.
The law came into force on 11 April 2011. Police said the people were detained for joining an unauthorised protest in central Paris.
“Women in France have the right to freedom of religion and expression. They must also be free to protest when this right is violated,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty.
“This law puts France to shame – a country that prides itself on the human rights it claims to promote and protect, freedom of expression included,” says the internationally respected human rights organisation.
“The law preventing women in France from expressing their values, beliefs and identity should be scrapped,” Amnesty's Dalhuisen declared.