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Ticino residents may vote on burka ban

Citizens of canton Ticino may be the first in Switzerland to vote on a proposal to ban women from wearing burkas in public.

A committee there has gathered the 10,000 petition signatures required to launch an initiative that could forbid the wearing of burkas and other veils that hide the face.

The group delivered the signatures to cantonal authorities in Bellinzona on Thursday, saying it had collected well over 10,000. Civil servants will formally inspect and count the signatures next week.

The initiative is directed at burka- and niqab-wearers in particular, but would also ban face coverings worn by hooligans and demonstrators. A similar ban came into effect in France on April 11.

Rightwing political circles have tapped into fears of a growing Islamisation in Switzerland. In November 2009, nearly 58 per cent of Swiss voters approved an initiative banning the construction of minarets.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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