Italian police have fined a Muslim woman for wearing a full Islamic veil in a street in the northern city of Novara, possibly the first such incident in Italy, city officials said.
“City police ticketed her last night and she will have to pay a 500-euro ($715) fine,” Mauro Franzinelli of the Novara municipal police said.
“As far as I know this is a first in Italy.”
Novara, in Italy’s north-eastern Piedmont region, is a stronghold of the anti-immigration Northern League, a key party in prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative government.
The woman, a Tunisian national, was stopped by police officers outside a post office in the company of her husband.
When her husband refused to have her identified by male officers they called in a patrol comprising a woman officer.
“City hall adopted a decree in late January banning the burka in public places and their vicinity, which is based on a commentary by the interior ministry who received a copy of the draft,” said Mr Franzinelli.
Covering one’s face – with a veil or a motorcycle helmet – in public has been banned in Italy since 1975.