Approximately 60 people have attacked police in a Parisian suburb in a dispute sparked by the Muslim burqa.
The attacks took place in Argenteuil, a suburb in the north-west of the capital city, which has been the setting for repeated clashes over recent months.
Tension reportedly erupted when police attempted to arrest a Muslim woman for wearing a veil. As police approached the unidentified woman, members of the public became involved.
According to Le Parisien, officers "were attacked. They were insulted and beaten, including punches". They were forced to use tear gas and flash-ball shots to disperse the crowd, according to police sources.
The Mail believes two men, including a relative of the woman, have been arrested on charges of violence and public disorder.
Argenteuil: a suburb of shame
Meanwhile, in a separate incident in the same suburb, a 21-year-old pregnant woman has claimed she was attacked by two men for wearing a veil.
According to the prosecutor in Pontoise, the young woman says the men dragged her to the Rue de Calais, where [they] "tore the veil from her and cut her hair".
However, according to a report by Le Parisien, the authorities believe there are "inconsistencies" in the woman's story.
She was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for unconfirmed injuries. The attack was recorded on CCTV but nothing is known about the attackers, except possibly that they were both bald.
Last month a 17-year-old girl, identified only as Rabia, was attacked in Argenteuil, in another incident apparently motivated by anti-Islamic sentiment.
The young girl told Le Parisien the incident happened at 9pm when she was accosted by two men, who tore her veil off and assaulted her, yelling "Dirty Arab" and "Dirty Muslim".
French burqa ban
A nationwide ban on wearing a burqa in public was enacted in 2011. Under the terms of the decree, anyone wearing the headdress in public will be fined €150 or be forced to take lessons in French citizenship.
Incidentally, according to the law's guidelines, police are prohibited from asking women to remove their veil in public. They are to be escorted to a police station, where their identities will be confirmed.
President Nicolas Sarkozy defended the law by saying it was necessary to deny shoplifters and terrorists the chance to hide their identities and facial features. Nevertheless, the ban has been condemned by human rights groups such as Amnesty International, who call it a breach of the right to freedom of expression.