Swiss voters support ban on face coverings in public

WION Web Team
Switzerland Published: Mar 08, 2021, 08.12 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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The result means nobody in Switzerland can cover their face completely in public whether in shops or in the open across the country except in places of worship or for health and safety reasons.

Swiss voters on Sunday voted narrowly to ban full face coverings in public places in a referendum which the media and campaigners have dubbed the "burqa ban".

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According to official reports, 51.2 per cent voters supported the proposal which came after years of debate in Switzerland after similar bans were imposed in other European countries.

There was a 50 per cent turnout with 1,426,992 voters were in favour of the ban and 1,359,621 against the proposal. 

The result means nobody in the country can cover their face completely in public whether in shops or in the open across the country except in places of worship or for health and safety reasons.

The measure also outlaws covering one's face in restaurants, sports stadiums and public transport.

However, at least 150 demonstrators opposed the ban while protesting outside the Swiss parliament in Bern as the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland(ICCS) said the ban was "a great disappointment for Muslims". 

European countries including France, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria and Denmark have banned full face coverings.

"In Switzerland, our tradition is that you show your face. That is a sign of our basic freedoms," Walter Wobmann, member of parliament and chairman of the referendum committee had said before the vote. 

The government and Parliament had however opposed the ban as justice minister Karin Keller-Sutter said the result was not a vote against Muslims.

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