Vienna (Web Desk): Thousands of people demonstrated in Austrian capital of Vienna against the government’s plans to bar Muslim women from wearing the full-face veil in public places.
Austrian media reported that the march on Saturday proceeded through the centre of Vienna and ended in front of the square where the Foreign Ministry building is located, in which the protesters carried signs with slogans denouncing the proposed ban.
Several Austrian Muslim associations organized the demonstration and most of the participants were women.
One of the organizers stated that they were against the Islamic veil ban because they opposed the exclusion of Muslims from society. She further said that a woman should not be excluded from public office because she wears ‘hijab’ (Islamic headscarf).
Earlier this week, the Austrian government released a document expressing their plans to ban the full-face veil in public places, made up of a coalition of the Social Democratic and Austrian People’s parties.
The document also stated that civil servants in uniform should refrain from wearing ‘hijab’ and limit their use of religious symbols to ensure the state presents itself in a religiously neutral manner.
The government intends to secure parliamentary approval for these measures over the next 18 months, or prior to the end of the current legislative session.
Some 600,000 Muslims live in Austria, with people of Turkish origin making up the largest community.