Swiss voters overwhelmingly approve ‘burka ban’
Face coverings have been banned in public in canton St Gallen in northeastern Switzerland. Two-thirds of voters agreed with the cantonal parliament and supported the so-called “burka ban”, which had been challenged by parties on the political left. Turnout on Sunday was 35.8%, with a total of 73,830 people – out of a canton of some 500,000 – backing the measure. The rightwing Swiss People’s Party said it hoped the ban would have a preventative effect. Opponents spoke of “playing to the gallery”, pointing out it was already illegal to force a woman to wear a burka and that the law’s implementation would be “completely random”. Cantonal police will now have the discretion to decide whether a person whose face is covered “threatens or endangers public safety or the religious or social peace”.