The “burka ban” states that faces must be visible from hairline to chin in public places — also outlawing surgical masks and clown make-up. Cops can use force to pull off people’s veils and issue £130 fines.
France and Belgium brought in similar laws in 2011 and one is being debated in the Dutch parliament. Chancellor Angela Merkel in neighbouring Germany said last year that veils should be prohibited “wherever it is legally possible.”
Only about 150 women wear the full burka in Austria and the law’s passage and popular support is seen as a sign of the growing strength of the far right.
Austria currently has a “grand coalition” between the Social Democrats and the conservative People’s Party. An election is due on October 15 and polls predict the Social Democrats will lose support while the far-right Freedom Party will gain, with the People’s Party the largest party.