On Monday, France's ban on wearing the burqa and niqab in public goes into effect, and 59 people have already been arrested for holding an illegal protest. Some women are refusing to abandon the veil, and insist that the law violates their rights.
CNN reports that protesters were arrested in Paris on Saturday for refusing to leave the scene. Five were held overnight because they didn't have proper identification, and two are still in police custody. Authorities say the group wasn't granted permission to demonstrate because they are known Islamic extremists and could have provoked dangerous counter-demonstrations. A silent protest march has been approved for Monday morning.
Only about 2,000 women wear the burqa or niqab in France. Starting tomorrow, they'll be fined 150 euros ($215) or sentenced to community service for covering their faces in public. Those who force a woman to wear a veil face a 30,000 euro fine (about $43,400) and up to a year in prison.
French politicians have argued that the veil hurts national unity, and is a safety concern. Last summer, before the bill passed, Jean-François Copé, leader of the French National Assembly, explained in a New York Times op-ed: