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Image for Denmark burqa ban: "My clothes, my choice"

Denmark burqa ban: "My clothes, my choice"

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Wednesday began unlike other mornings in Denmark. Rain, thunder and lighting greeted Copenhagen skies, disrupting one of the warmest, sunniest Danish summers on record. The weather was fitting for the day that women, girls and allies took to the streets of Nørrebro to protest a recently passed law that bans Muslim women the right to wear burqas and niqabs. Members and leaders of the demonstration’s organizers, Kvinder i Dialog (Women in Dialogue) and allies rallying with support behind one message to the Danish government: We all stand against this ban.

Few niqabi women agreed to interviews. Fines for violation range from 1,000-10,000 Danish kroner (€134 - €1,341). Determining whether or not a face covering violates the ban is up to the police, but no one was prosecuted. A few police men and women calmly blocked traffic and guided the march down Mimersgade to Bellahøj station. Cameras, note-pads, live-streams and banner art were ubiquitous across the sea of hundreds of supporters who showed up. It seemed no one felt afraid to be seen or heard and it proved to be enough.

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Allies linked in a human chain by Bellahøj police station with sign that reads, “Niqab prohibition/ban = oppression”. © Julia Rignot
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Demonstrators peacefully face off with Copenhagen police outside of Bellahøj police station. © Julia Rignot
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Young participants sit atop a sculpture at the demonstration’s gathering spot, Den Sorte Plads listening to Kvinder I Dialog’s public address. © Julia Rignot
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Nørrebro neighborhood locals rally with support to demonstrators marching thorugh the streets below. © Julia Rignot
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Salma, a protestor. © Julia Rignot
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Marching down Mimersgade with arms linked, Muslim mothers joined chants of “My clothes, my choice” and “No racists in our streets!” © Julia Rignot
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Anonymous member of Kvinder I Dialog carries a message enveloping the rhetoric of the burqa ban: “Liberal hypocrisy” © Julia Rignot
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Michelle, an ally, marches with one hand pushing her bike and the other holding her only statement: “Topless or burka? There is room for everyone” beside her companion whose banner reads, “Dressed or dressed - we will decide.” © Julia Rignot
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Tamia, “For everyone.” © Julia Rignot
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Demonstrators seated outside Bellahøj police station in Nørrebro, Copenhagen. © Julia Rignot
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